Kim's Reviews > Lucky

Lucky by Alice Sebold
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's review
Jun 01, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: for-realz, rubbernecking

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 poor Alice had to live through all this.

Then, thanks to the good people on GoodReads I learned that there is a syndrome.

Compassion Fatigue; A combination of being overwhelmed by the sheer number and scope of human disasters and atrocities, and numbed by the decontextualized manner in which they are presented by the media (thanks Abigail!)

This in no way undermines the meat of the story, I'm just explaining my utter horror of discovering that I wasn't truly freaking out during this book.

You can tell me something straight out and I’ll be blasé about it, but once you start to hint at an issue, I’m all over it. I think that as the book went on, it wasn’t so much a direct ‘I was raped’ story but more of a day to day life after with all the idiosyncrasies and patterns that emerge that drew me in.

It reminds me a bit of Joan Didion’s ‘Year of Magical Thinking’. That same sort of despondency that you find when you know that there is no option but to just move on.

So, there was a peak and then a valley and then a peak and then a valley and so on.. I would find myself not being able to put the book down during the time between the rape and the trial, watching Alice justify her actions and her drinking and not even commenting on the fact that it was an escape mechanism. But, following the trial, I was in that sort of valley stage, which, I suppose, is how life goes and it took me a bit longer to get through that.

The ‘Aftermath’ section was strong, except at that point I think her use of choppy, six word sentences seem out of place. This is the stuff that should flourish, the drug use, the denial, the recovery.

I appreciate her direct approach and lack of drama though. I won’t even pretend to understand what she went through and to write a memoir about it is extremely brave.

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Reading Progress

June 1, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
June 11, 2008 – Shelved as: for-realz
June 11, 2008 – Finished Reading
November 8, 2011 – Shelved as: rubbernecking

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Michelle I loved this book. It was hard to get past the first chapter though.

message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim Yeah, that was hard. 'Luckily' it was 3am and I was a bit exhausted so I didn't mull. It was this or David Sedaris. Funny I chose this.

Michelle That's ok. You can read David Sedaris to cheer yourself up after you are finished with Lucky. I sobbed during that whole part.

message 4: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim I'll probably finish this and start that tonight.

Then next week I've got the heavy books... I'm one determined good reader. :)

Valerie I didn't have compassion fatigue when I read this, but I can see what you're saying about the story (in terms of peaks and valleys). I think sometimes you have to "turn off" a little to handle reading or absorbing material like this. I liked it a lot, though - I thought it was much stronger and more enthralling than "The Lovely Bones".

message 6: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim I think it was too, but on the whole, I don't think I'll read anything else by her. I'm not a big fan of her writing.

Valerie Same here.

Michelle Almost Moon sucked, so you don't have to worry about missing anything there.

message 9: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim I know it's sad, but I think she got, god, I don't want to use the term, but 'lucky' with these. Like, she was riding the momentum or something. Which, I feel really bad for saying, but would I feel bad if she hadn't been raped? I don't know.
No, this was a good memoir... I can't really comment as it hasn't happened to me...

Michelle This memoir really resonated with me. I think the part that resonated the most was when she said that she would rather have gotten raped a thousand times than be killed. It's just proof that you really don't know how you'd feel unless something like that actually happened.

I also loved how she detailed her trial. I mean, you see stuff like that dramatized in movies or on television, but this was real.

message 11: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim I think that those parts were really strong and like I said, I liked the clipped writing during that, but then, it sort of... dropped off for me. And, that's terrible to say, because it never really drops off for the victim, right? But, I think as I read it I started to just want to finish it and I didn't feel like that when I read 'The Year of Magical Thinking'....

Valerie Maybe I should try that one again. Have you read it, Michelle?

message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim It's a hard read, but well worth it... and I'm not THAT big of a Didion fan (yet, this is one of my top ten favorite books)

Michelle I have not read it yet, but it has been on my "to read" shelf for a while.

Books Ring Mah Bell great review Kim!

message 16: by Ana (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ana I agree with you on every single word.

message 17: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim You know what's weird? When you write something and then let it go for a few months and then not remember writing one word of it.

I hate that.

Thanks, Ana. :)

message 18: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim Cool, thanks Jane, I'll add that to my to-read list.

message 19: by Jason (new)

Jason Jane wrote: "With all due respect, if you are a woman and "wasn't feeling it" and just thought, "that sucks," after reading that first chappter, you could well be a Sociopath. You certainly sound like one. So glib--almost cheerful--and indifferent over something like that. That's not a normal response and I have been desensitized myself."


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