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Lucky by Alice Sebold



Book Reviews (Adult)

Lucky by Alice Sebold
Published by Picador, London, 2002

This is the memoir of a survivor of rape. When she was an eighteen year old, college student Alice Sebold was raped and beaten as she was on her way home through a park near the campus where she studied. This book is the story of her struggle to understand and accept what happened to her and of her efforts not to have her life defined by that one horrendous event. She also tells of the effect the attack had on her friends and family and their personal struggles to support her.

It is a well written book which conveys the upheaval an unprovoked attack causes to both the victim of the attack and the community in which they live. Although not an easy book to read because of the light it throws on society’s attitudes towards rape victims, I found the account of her questioning by the police very harrowing. The scepticism of the detectives listening to a traumatised and injured teenager whose life had been irrevocably changed was difficult to understand.

When she eventually identified her attacker and agreed to testify against him the subsequent court case and cross examination seemed like a further assault on her. The formality of the court room is daunting enough for a person to cope with, but the personal character assassination practised by lawyers in defence of their client was truly horrible. Overall, this is a very thought provoking book on many levels, and is an uncomfortable read as it holds a mirror to Society and forces us to re-examine our own responses to the evil in our midst and the victims thereof.

This is a book that everyone, male and female, should read for a better understanding of what is, unfortunately, an all too common occurrence for many people. It helps us to comprehend the battle that sexual assault victims have to wage in order to reclaim their lives and identity and re-establish trust in the human race so they can begin to live without fear and terror of every person they meet.

Reviewed by Marie, a Clare County Library staff member.

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