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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  72,764 ratings  ·  3,442 reviews
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 lo ...more
Paperback, 243 pages
Published September 16th 2002 by Hachette Book Group (first published 1999)
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Amber What an awful, awful thing to say.

On top of that: Do you even know the story of how she wrote Lucky. Of how she was writing her novel and stopped for…more
What an awful, awful thing to say.

On top of that: Do you even know the story of how she wrote Lucky. Of how she was writing her novel and stopped for years to do this work to make sure she was telling her characters story cleanly? I mean wow, I am just absolutely shocked and floored by this question.

Please read this poem and consider thinking about being so flippant and out-of-line about such questions as these: "To the Guy in the Back of the Room, Complaining About Listening to Another Rape Poem:"
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This is what I remember.

This is the first line in Lucky, Alice Sebold's memoir of her rape and its aftermath. It's the kind of first line that hooks you as you stand in the aisle of Barnes & Noble, or as you browse the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon. It's the kind of line that demands you read further. In five words, swollen with portentousness, it makes a lot of promises. An author needs to have a certain amount of guts to start a book like that. Alice Sebold has them and more. All the wo
When I first started reading ‘Lucky’ I thought that something was wrong with me. I mean, I get that there is this horrific rape within the first chapter and that NO ONE should have to go through what she went through, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was more like ‘oh, wow, that sucks’. Then, I started feeling worse because I thought of my soul has become a blackened prune pit residing near my left kidney. I was more into the fact that Tess Gallagher and Tobias Wolff were Alices’ professors than that ...more
i read this before i read Lovely Bones, in part because i wanted to see how she dealt with her own history, in part because well, i'm a sucker for memoirs. i classify this as a crazypeoplememoir not lightly - my definition of "crazy" is a little loose.

alice sebold was raped by someone she didn't know as an undergraduate at syracuse university.

what i love about this book is that sebold doesn't fall into the normal tradition of "victim" memoirs. she doesn't blame other people - even her attacke
Maybe you have to be a survivor to really appreciate this book. Maybe that is why I could not put this book down. Even though what happened to me was not violent, nor did I report it, I still went through many of the emotions, inner dialogue, and relationship changes and challenges Alice went through in the long aftermath, and I really enjoyed comparing the similarities and differences in our experiences. I felt myself choke up several times throughout this book because even when it seems she sh ...more
I feel so sad that I hated this book so much. It wasn't the subject because I've read books on this subject matter before but it drove me crazy how everything in her life, every moment became about her rape. To the the point that when her room mate was raped she made it about her own rape. No wonder she couldn't wait to get away from her. It was a bit insane actually. Every one she met she had to tell them about her rape, every guy, everyone one. It absorbed her. If they tried to support her she ...more
Alice Sebold is an eighteen year old college freshman. Walking home from a party she is attacked this attack takes place not far from the campus. Alice is brutally raped and beaten she struggles as much as she can, but is threatened by her attacker that he will kill her is she doesn't do as she is told.

After the attack she must deal with the aftermath of the trauma she has just endured. She reports it to the police where she will have to relive the whole attack again. Then of course there is her
Brilliant. I was hooked from the first paragraph of the foreword but I had a very difficult time getting though the first chapter, where Sebold's rape was described in excrutiating detail. Remembering this is a memoir, it made me physically ill. I really admire the guts this woman has...she went right back to Syracuse and went on with her life, determined to get justice for what happened and reclaim her identity to be more than "that girl who was raped". I was appalled at the treatment she recei ...more
Women's stories of their trauma aren't being told, their being sold. Here's a shining example.
This was the last thing I ever intended to read, but Sebold's narrative really captured my attention. I was on Chapter 3 before I knew it, and just had to keep reading; I had to find out what happened. I actually got the rest of the book as an audiobook (got to Chapter 3 via online excerpts) and listened to Sebold herself narrate the story of how, when she was an 18 year old virgin coed at Syracuse University, she was brutalized, beaten, and viciously raped and sodomized one night on her way hom ...more
A harrowing tale, indeed. "It is not just forcible intercourse; rape means to inhabit and destroy everything" (p.123). No wonder it had taken so long for Alice to come to terms with it. Such brutal destruction of everything one knew and was could not be overcome quickly or easily. I found I had to stop reading at intervals to recover my own equanimity.

The reactions of the people surrounding her I found fascinating. What does one say to the victim? Certainly not "I guess this will make you less i
It took me awhile to read this book, mostly because I had so little time, but I loved it. It was like reading my own story. I was so proud of how she stood up to her attacker, and always wished I could have. The time period was exactly the same, so it was eerily the same in a lot of ways. I also grew up in Syracuse, so I knew all the locations quite well and felt her story even more, if that's possible. You have a life before and a life after, and it's never the same again, no matter how hard yo ...more
I have to admit - I couldn't finish this book. Rarely do I not finish a book, but I just couldn't with this one. I normally love Alice Sebold's matter-of-fact writing style, but here, it failed. She described her rape and the events in her life that followed, but she kept saying that no one else can understand what it's like to be a victim of that kind of violence. I know that's true - I can never understand - but I'm reading this book to try to understand what it's like, and it's the job of the ...more
I read Lucky not long after it was released. Alice Sebold deserves credit for her sometimes graphic but realistic description of her horrible experience. I would have hoped that writing this book would have allowed her to get it out of her system so that she could move on with her life. Evidently, this is not the case.

As a grad student at Syracuse, this book definitely hits close to home. For this reason, I forbid my girlfriend to go to Marshall Street alone late at night (yeah, I am a chauvinistic knuckle-dragger). I feel that The Lovely Bones is really just a metaphor for this, the author's real experience with her rape as a college freshman at SU. I love the recognition and legitimacy of hatred in the author's recovery. "I want to fuck you with a knife," she writes of her rapist. Studies have shown where d ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes memoir
I picked this book up when I was living in Ireland, actually. I read the first five pages just standing in the bookstore and I was hooked. Unfortunately, I didn't have the money to buy it at the moment, so I put it on my mental "to-read" list. Just before I left for camp for the summer, I found it at my boyfriend's parents' house and started it again.

This book is very realistic in the fact that it has no happy ending; it isn't really a beginning, middle and end sort of story. It follows the life
It was interesting reading this true story after "The Lovely Bones" (this was her first published book) as now I see where her obsession with interlacing violence with the mundane world comes from. This was an interesting read but felt more like a recitation of fact, of the drill you go through as a rape victim, rather than an exploration of her mutilated sexuality, as she suggests. I didn't feel the terror, the anguish, the paranoia but instead felt as if I were in fact at the police station go ...more
Ruth Turner


I’ve said this before about memoirs, and I’ll say it again…they need to be believable. If you tell me something, which I doubt very much to be true, then I’m going to take it that the whole book is a fabrication.

Page 13 on my laptop…

“He began to knead his fist against the opening of my vagina. Inserted his fingers into it, three or four at a time. Something tore. I began to bleed there. I was wet now.
It made him excited. He was intrigued. As he worked his whole fist up into my vagina and pump
Rape is at once both a simple and complext subject. Regardless of the victim and rapist, it ties, cuts, right to the heart of our views about gender. It is impossible to step this, and it has been used to inspire terror and as a form of punishment.

It should be note that before I read this book, I had read the jezebel article about You Deserve Nothing, to which Ms. Sebold is connected. My reading of this book is most likely affected by that article.

Sebold's story starts with an act that despite
It wouldn’t do justice to Lucky to call it a “rape memoir.” Though the events of the book cycle around Sebold’s rape she experienced as a college freshman, in a broader context her story deals with social attitudes and crime/justice. It takes a gifted writer to make brutal events into captivating memoirs; in stories that deal with a single trauma, first-person accounts tend to be so caught up feelings of aggression or grief that the emotions take precedence over the writing itself. Since Sebold ...more
amanda marie
It was definitely 50/50 with this book. One half of me really enjoyed it, while the other half of me was bored.

From the very beginning, I was impressed with Sebold and the actions she chose to take regarding her rape: dealing with everyone’s mixed emotions, going back to school where she was the topic of every conversation, and running into her rapist, charging him, and taking him to court. She was strong. Stronger than I think I would even be in such a position. Reading her graphic words regard
This memoir is almost a really good book. But I think it's lacking the essential emotional connection between the author and readers. And the ending seems empty. Bravo for her, though, for writing about such a tough subject -- her rape and it's aftermath on her life.

Reading challenge 2015: #26 Una memoria.

"Todo estaba mal. Estaba mal que yo no pudiera caminar por un parque por la noche. Estaba mal que me violaran. Estaba mal que mi violador se creyera intocable o que, como estudiante de Syracuse, yo recibiera sin duda un trato mejor de la policía. Estaba mal que violaran a la sobrina de aquel agente. Estaba mal que él dijera que estaba arruinada. Estaba mal que pusiera las luces del coche patrulla y bajara por Marshall. Estaba mal que acosara, y tal
Mixed feelings on this one. I was with her most of the way, but the part towards the end where her friend is raped really, really bothered me -- at that point the story, for me, stopped being a straightforward account of "this is my rape, this is my trial, this is what happened to me" and started to get, as one commenter below wrote angrily, holier-than-thou. Sebold writes effectively about people having inappropriate reactions to her experience, but didn't seem able to recognize-- at the time, ...more
Lori Lesko
What happened to Alice Sebold shouldn't happen to anyone. That she survived her ordeal at all is miraculous, but that she found a voice with which to describe her experience with clarity, with tremendous insight and with warmth is almost unbelievable, yet this is exactly what she does with Lucky.

As a studen at Syracuse University in 1980, Alice is the victim of a horribly brutal rape as she leaves a friends house. The experience understandably shatters her, but even she does not realize the dept
When Alice Sebold was brutally beaten and raped in the cold and lonely park near her college dormitory, police told her that she was “lucky” to have not been murdered. “In the tunnel where I was raped…a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this story by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky.” The pain and irony in this description serves as the basis for Sebold’s memoir entitled Lucky.
From that night on, Sebold struggles to keep her life together. She doesn’t want to
The first line of the book: “This is what I remember…”

The last line (implied): “This is what I’ll never forget…”

“The Lovely Bones” was how I first heard of Alice Sebold, first the movie, and then the book. Unfortunately I wasn’t as much fascinated by the book as I was with the movie, which I think captured the real essence of what was supposed to be the book. “Lucky”, a true account of the brutal assault and rape of Alice Sebold, was the precedent to “The Lovely Bones”, her first novel. I was im
finished Alice Sebold’s memoir Lucky last night, and I really loved it as a piece of writing (of course, since it’s about rape, the story is trying and difficult - but important and valid - something that needed to be said). I find Sebold’s spare style to be perfect for this work. She lays out the events and their aftermath with straightforward gumption, get it out there and get it out there truthfully. She’s strong in her experience, and that makes for good reading to me.

But one of the things,
This book is in no way easy to read. It starts out with a graphic account of 18 year old Alice Sebold's rape. I say account because it is mostly just facts, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. However I do think it was necessary to know the details to be able to understand how a horrible ordeal that lasted an hour affects the victim forever in so many different ways. It's a story of courage but without a halo. Sebold doesn't come off as having all the answers. She just explains how she ...more
Aside from the actual events of this book, what I took from it was a better sense of how unique we all are as individuals. How we all "deal" with things differently. I also find it very interesting that most of us don't know how to cope or help someone who has been victimized. All of us are touched by violence in some form. We all know someone, or have been the victim ourselves, and yet we can't seem to figure out how to handle the situations. Maybe, even when violence is staring us in the face, ...more
Katie Garcia
Why do all rape books end in the character loosing weight and subsequently shedding all the baggage of her rape. Is weight loss synonomous with healing? I liked the book, I thought the character had an interesting take on her own rape, but I felt she was also a littel judge-y and the whole I'm feeling better because I bought an excersise bike. When her best friend in college was raped a year later, she seemed to judge her friend for not prosecuting, for just wanting to forget it all happened. We ...more
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Did anyone else find this book to be triggering or upsetting? 9 171 Aug 26, 2013 06:57AM  
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Alice Sebold is an American writer. She has published three books: Lucky (1999), The Lovely Bones (2002), and The Almost Moon (2007).

More about Alice Sebold...
The Lovely Bones The Almost Moon The Best American Short Stories 2009 The Lovely Bones & Looking Glass The Secret Garden

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“I live in a world where two truths coexist: where both hell and hope lie in the palm of my hand” 171 likes
“No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.” 123 likes
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