Several years ago a read a little book titled The Lovely Bones. Ever heard of it? Eventually it was made into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg. I never saw the movie. However, the book was an experience. It was gripping, well written and I really liked it, despite the fact that it is based around a horrendous and sad crime.
Well, last week while perusing my local library book shelves for a true crime pick (I’ll explain this in a minute), I came across a familiar name on one of the books. Alice Sebold, the author of The Lovely Bones. What was a novelists name doing on the cover of a true crime book? Reading the dust jacket I discover that Alice had been the victim of a violent crime, and she wrote a book about it. A true crime book, honestly it is really a memoir, titled Lucky.
Before I get too far into talking about the book, let me explain what I was doing in the true crime section. I’m not really a true crime reader, and I don’t think I’ve ever written about a true crime book on this blog. It just isn’t a genre I pick up for leisure or fun. However, I’m participating in my library’s adult summer reading program which takes the shape of a BINGO game this year. One of the squares I need to complete a BINGO is a true crime book. Boy, am I glad I did. You can really find some wonderful treasures when you branch out of your comfortable reading genres from time to time.
I will be the first to admit that a book about a violent rape, the ensuing aftermath, and trial is not a book most people think to pick up for some ‘light’ reading. It sure isn’t something I’m drawn to regularly. The main reason I chose it was because of the author’s name. My curiosity was piqued. Also, I know Sebold is a good writer. And she is.
I expected to be plunged into a sea of darkness through which I would wade, wallow, and nearly drown, before crawling out the other side exhausted and collapsed. The emotional toll of reading such a book would normally leave me in a funk for days. And while it was dark, horrible things happened, and Sebold did not spare us any details, I didn’t feel like she was trying to drown us in it. She let us get air and we are able to swim through it, while gaining some important insight. Not having been a victim of a violent crime or rape, there is no way I could ever truly understand what she went through, and the courage it took for her to face her attacker, convict him, then write about it. For me, it was a learning experience, and it gave me more of an understanding of what those who are victims of violent crime go through. She addresses in the book how some people thought she was partly to blame, or that maybe she didn’t fight hard enough. It is important for us who don’t know, to realize that we really don’t know.
Sebold was courageous in many ways, however I do think she glossed over many things at the end. The aftermath that followed her further into adulthood, and the drug use. These are big things, that just didn’t get enough attention. Not because I was eager for details, but I think it is part of the journey and the dealing with it. It is part of how she dealt with the things that happened to her. Yes she was a victim, but she didn’t gloss over her faults as a result of that, and I wish she would have followed that through all the way to the end.
All in all, a good book. Maybe not the most uplifting of reads, but true stories aren’t always uplifting. They’re just truthful.