Monday, August 25, 2008

Lucky, by Alice Sebold

The story of Alice Sebold's rape, which happened when she was just finishing her first year in college. The rape was brutal, committed by a stranger, and 18-year-old Alice was a virgin.

Unlike many rape victims, Alice did not place blame on herself. She also wanted to talk about it - but often could not. Starting at the police department, where she made her report, she was faced with people who did not want the whole story, did not want the details.

Alice wanted the rapist caught and it did not occur to her to let the case go. Thus she took the stand at his trial and again told all.

This story is not just the story of the rape, of course. It is about Alice, about her family, about her life before and after. Her story is often funny in an offhand way and Alice comes across not only as a strong young woman but an interesting, perceptive one with various chips on her shoulder. The perfect person to write the story, in fact.

Her best-selling novel, The Lovely Bones, was written after Lucky but was started before. The two are dissimilar in style and one rape does not resemble the other. Nevertheless, the essence of rape lies in each. Both tell us something about what it does to many lives when one person is raped.

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