Deb Rhodes, September 30, 2011 (view all comments by Deb Rhodes)
In Lucky Sebold writes of her rape, at the age of 18, with intelligence and candor, refusing to plunge into a well of self-pity. There is humor here, and a briskness of style which makes for an interesting, absorbing read.
If it's not what happens to us, but how we respond to the tribulations and traumas in life, then we have every reason to believe that Sebold will go beyond survival to become all the more strong because of these very sufferings.
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cassymae92420, October 27, 2009 (view all comments by cassymae92420)
I am in the process of reading this book, and so far it is excellent. Although The Lovely Bones was far better, I love everything that Alice wrights. I am looking forward to starting The Almost Moon.
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Back Bay Books -
Whether or not you'd go out of your way to read anything that might be classified as a rape memoir, give Alice Sebold your attention for her first five pages and you're in for the whole ride. Written in a fever of unapologetic self-discipline, Lucky is just about everything you'd expect it not to be. There's no expedition in search of psychic wounds, no yanking at your sleeve to get your conscience into the picture. Sebold was only a college freshman in a beat-up sweater when her horrible assault occurred, and she was a virgin. Maybe if rape was classified as a form of torture it would be simpler to map out the parameters of the damage it causes. Right now, as Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling, has said, a lot of people think of it as a form of bad sex.
At first, Lucky seems to bounce you into a state of half-belief. The rape itself, narrated at the very beginning of the book, is so merciless it's nearly impossible to absorb. The man beat her and tore at her; the shriveled object in the courtroom evidence bag was so stiff and black — like ruined leather — that it was hard to tell it was her blood-soaked underwear. Once Sebold goes back to her bookish family to repair herself, her household becomes an odd but dramatically rich place to begin to heal. The first thing her father asks her when she gets back home is whether she'd like something to eat. "That would be nice," she says, "considering the only thing I've had in my mouth in the last twenty-four hours is a cracker and a cock."
The smart but not good-looking Alice (as she sees herself, wrongly on that last count) keeps a cool head as her family wavers, as she leaves them once more to return to school, as she helps catch her assailant. And then, in a wrenching moment that comes from out of nowhere, she has to keep from losing her mind when she faces the police lineup and fingers the wrong guy. How in the world is this ever going to work out?
Sebold credits teachers, including Tess Gallagher and Geoffrey Wolff, who surely had something to do with the making of a writer who can spit out a harrowing story that's still vibrating and flexible. Reading Sebold is like listening to Syd Straw singing about the worst thing that ever happened to her. Not that being funny doesn't help; Sebold can do that, too. But mainly, Lucky derives imaginative traction from its form and style, its continually expanding view. By the end, the mysteries of individuality that it conveys seem accessible only to the reluctantly brave. The book's acknowledgments conclude with some lovely, ardent thanks to Sebold's vulnerable mother. Because Lucky makes compassion a more personal, less automatic response, this gift to her mother seems light enough to carry and to keep. Sally Eckhoff, Salon.com
In her powerful memoir, philosopher and rape survivor Karyn Freedman travels back to one night in Paris in 1990, when she was 22 and when, in one violent hour, her life was changed forever. Freedman takes the reader with her on a harrowing yet inspirational journey through trauma and recovery – from a courtroom in Paris and a trauma resource center in Toronto to working with young women at a rape clinic in Africa. At once deeply intimate and bracingly universal, A Paris Night weaves together Freedman’s personal experience with her philosophical insights and her wide-ranging efforts to understand what it means to live in a body that has been traumatized. Drawing on recent theories of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and neuroplasticity, Karyn shows how recovery from traumatic experiences is possible. A Paris Night is written for survivors of sexual violence as well as for anyone who has lived through a traumatic experience, or knows someone who has. It is sure to become an invaluable resource for family members, educators and mental health professionals.
Theo is better now.
Shes eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isnt talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didnt do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything shes been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.
In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit-as she struggles for understanding ("After telling the hard facts to anyone, from lover to friend, I have changed in their eyes"); as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their efforts to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction. In a narrative by turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victims even as she imparts wisdom profoundly hard-won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved."
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