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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  91,730 ratings  ·  4,278 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 August 4th 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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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  91,730 ratings  ·  4,278 reviews

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Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
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 words
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
In Lucky, Alice Sebold recounts the night she was raped and how that event and its consequences reverberated throughout her life. The first chapter of this book made me feel ill, so major warning to readers that there is intense detail about rape and assault right from the very start. However, I thought Sebold's frankness was very important to her story. She tells it exactly like it is, and it was interesting to see how she handled herself in and out of the courtroom—especially for someone so yo ...more
Amy B.
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jun 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Aug 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-read
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
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An absorbing memoir about a college girl who was raped. The book covers the rape, the trial, and the very long recovery. Rape is an ugly and isolating act and the author takes you as close to it as is possible for someone never having experienced the trauma. It will take me awhile to get this story out of my head.
Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
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
May 08, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Women's stories of their trauma aren't being told, their being sold. Here's a shining example.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2006
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
Jul 11, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.

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
Ruth Turner
Dec 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned


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
Sheryl Sorrentino
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lucky by Alice Sebold is a haunting memoir with “sticking power”. I feel “lucky”—or I should say honored—to have read it. I thought I had a fair understanding of how rape affects victims, but after reading this book, I feel humbled by how little I really knew.

Ms. Sebold opens with a graphic, blow-by-blow depiction of the rape itself. From there, she describes with painful honesty how being raped affected her, how beyond the PTSD, it “tainted” her, like a communicable disease.

The treatment Ms. S
Sep 04, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
The year is 1981. Alice Sebold experienced something which is nothing short of horrifying and traumatising. But she was above all of it, as fought through it at every step, never faltering and never hesitating.
Her story brings about a number of messages, but the ones which struck hard are the ones that need to be brought out to the world.
Talking about rape isn't easy. But, it has to be done. If not for us, then for others who find it hard to cope up with it. Sebold's story proved it.
And as th
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Pradolin
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the most fascinatingly written novels I've ever read. Alice Sebold goes into such brilliant detail about everything, and really elongates things she finds most valid and/or important. It's a must read!
Diane in Australia
An excellent book about Alice's brutal rape, and the distressing aftermath. It definitely touched my heart.

5 Stars = It made a significant impact. I won't forget it.
Kelly Wondracek
May 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
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
Susan Haught
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally bought this book for research. My WIP (work in progress--a novel) centers on a rape victim, and I needed verification I was on the right track even though I based my character's background on an actual event.

Sebold's story is the account of her own rape. It's raw and ugly, and hits you smack in the guts with its straightforward account. It's a story every woman (and man) should read.

Although I'm happy I found this book, I'm so sorry it had to be written. Thank you, Ms. Sebold for
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, crime
Lucky is a well-written, intense and inspiring memoir telling the story of author Alice Sebold (better known for writing the nostalgic and haunting novel of the afterlife, The Lovely Bones), and the moments in her life that inspired her to write. Some moments are happy, some are sad, but the one she writes the most about and what takes up a large part of this book, is when she was eighteen and was raped, beaten and left in a park. Told in a brutally honest and eye-opening way, Sebold's emotional ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
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Did anyone else find this book to be triggering or upsetting? 9 184 Aug 26, 2013 06:57AM  

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Alice Sebold is the author of three #1 bestselling books, including Lucky, and the novels The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon. Her work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian, among other publications. She is a member of the National Leadership Council for (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). She lives in California ...more

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