Ciara's Reviews > Lucky

Lucky by Alice Sebold
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's review
Dec 05, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2006, autobio-memoir, feminist-y-books
Recommended for: rape survivors advocates/supporters, law enforcement personnel, survivors who feel up for it
Read in January, 2006 , read count: once

this book was excellent, but i don't know if i will ever be able to read it again. it's a memoir of one day during sebold's freshman year of college, when she walking across her campus & was accosted by a stranger & raped. a few weeks later, she saw her rapist hanging out at a local pizza parlor or something like that. she had gone to the hospital after the rape, partly to get a rape kit, & partly because she had been badly beaten during the experience & needed a lot of medical care. having the rape kit in the bag & an ID on the perpetrator, she was able to have him arrested, tried, & convicted successfully, which is really good news for sebold (hence the title), but she & i both acknowledge that this is a really uncommon outcome for rape survivors (again, hence the title). this book could have been exploitative. it could have struck a false tone of empowerment, a plucky kind of, "if i can do it, you can do it (bring your rapist to justice) too!" sebold wisely steers away from that course & acknowledges all the bizarre factors that worked in her favor during the court case--things that were tragic, but "lucky" from a judicial perspective: the fact that she was a virgin when the attack happened, the fact that she was attacked by a stranger instead of an acquaintance, the fact that she was hospitalized due to her injuries, etc. i think it takes a really gifted writer & a strong person to recount this kind of experience & be able to look at the factors & walk away with the intelligent, realistic, feminist perspective that sebold has. this book was incredibly hard to read because it's hard to think about things like this happening to people in real-life (even though they do all the time), & that's why i don't know if i'll ever be able to read it again, but i'm glad that i read it once, because it's a really important book.

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