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Lucky by Alice Sebold

Lucky (edition 2009)

by Alice Sebold

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4,654971,019 (3.77)126
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Scribner (2009), Kindle Edition, 256 pages
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Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold


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I was afraid to read this memoir. I knew it would bring back undesired memories; it did. Alice Sebold was 19 in college when she was brutally raped; she was a virgin. I was 18 in college, a virgin, when a guy forced himself upon me. I was lucky; he didn’t go through with it. Sebold was not as “Lucky”, but a police officer told her she was because another girl was murdered and dismembered where she was raped. We live with the trauma and the fear that will never completely go away. I can’t forget his weight on me, his hands tearing at my clothing. Sebold has much worse to forget.

Honest, blunt, factual, simply harrowing at times, Sebold began the research on this book 15 years after the rape took place; it marked the beginning of her truly reflecting on this event. Professor Wolff, when he learned of her rape ordeal, had advised her to remember EVERYTHING. The result is this book.

The rape is detailed at the start; it is difficult to read to say the least. The rape is horrific enough; what comes after the rape is even worse. The judicial system favors the defendant – innocent until proven guilty. The next chapters detailed the line-up, the hearing, and the trail. Her non-supporting family members irate me – the dad who couldn’t understand how she “let” the rapist rape her without his knife (no, you can’t fuck someone and threaten her with a knife at the same time), the sister who distanced herself continued to live in her own world, and her mom with anxiety attacks, well, provided moral support if nothing else. I felt Alice’s loneliness. Rape distanced her from those who couldn’t handle such a topic. It’s still a taboo. “Ruined” – that’s what Sebold had thought of herself.

At times, I shivered. Certain passages made my lips quiver. I broke down when Sebold revealed her roommate was raped during the fourth year, possibly as a revenge towards her, tearing their friendship apart. Other rapes surfaced when Sebold’s story was known in her community – a mom who was raped at 18, a college roommate who remembered her own incest, raped by her brothers for years. She attempted suicide.

Sebold did not present herself to be sweet and likeable. She’s flawed like the rest of us. Alcohol and drugs mixed into her means to be normal. She had sex for the sake of having sex even though it hurts.

Gregory Madison – Rapist, Sebold’s rapist. The name frightened me. The words held personal meaning.

Only 13% of rapes are trialed and convicted. This means up to 87% remain nameless. When Sebold was able to identify her assailant, her rapist went from “rapist” to “Gregory Madison”. Greg Madison. Somehow this passage was incredibly powerful. To have a name, she is not one of many; she is not general. It gave her focus.

Parents – Read this and learn what not to do for your children in crisis.
Everyone – Read this and learn how to protect yourself in crisis, especially the aftermath.

I read sexual assault remains with a person long after it occurred. It explains a lot of my own feelings and my continued need to feel protected.

No quotes. I can’t quote from something like this. ( )
  varwenea | Apr 18, 2016 |
This book is written with brutal honesty. Alice Sebold opens the book with her own rape and follows the arc of her recovery. Throughout we learn about her difficult relationship with her family, the capture and trial of her rapist, and the rape of her roommate. Not for the faint of heart. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
This book is written with brutal honesty. Alice Sebold opens the book with her own rape and follows the arc of her recovery. Throughout we learn about her difficult relationship with her family, the capture and trial of her rapist, and the rape of her roommate. Not for the faint of heart. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Not sure how one can write an autobiographical account of being raped without being either intensely angry or mawkish in the retelling, but Alice Sebold does. It's a lovely book about a horrible event -- rather like The Lovely Bones in that way, but more meaningful because you're constantly aware (at least, I was) that these things actually happened. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Amazing memoir. It seems so raw and brutally honest. And yet it wasnt painful to read. I enjoyed reading this, even though it was a difficult subject. ( )
  Jadedog13 | Feb 3, 2016 |
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Voor Glen David Gold
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In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered.
No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.
“Poetry is not an attitude. It is hard work.” (Quoting Tess Gallagher)
“Memory could save . . . it had power . . . it was often the only recourse of the powerless, the oppressed, or the brutalized.” (Referring to Tobias Wolff’s own story, This Boy’s Life)
“You never get over some things.”
From an interview with Alice Sebold that is published as a supplement in the back of the book:

Question: People often wonder if writing is therapeutic. If you’re writing about a trauma, does that help the pain of the trauma recede? Susie in the novel [a different book] says something like every time she tells her story, a drop of the pain goes away. But as a writer who’s written about your own trauma and then written a fictionalized version of a similar trauma, is writing therapeutic or do you think that that’s really the wrong way to approach it anyway?

Answer: My feeling is that therapy is for therapy and that writing can be therapeutic, but therapeutic writing should not be published. My job as a writer is to go through the therapy myself and, if I manage to get through it and I feel I have something to share from that, to share it with my audience or my readers. But I don’t write novels and seek to have them published so that I can get therapy from having written them. That’s really the responsibility of an individual to do outside the context of their published work.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316096199, Paperback)

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 lover to friend, I have changed in their eyes"); as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their efforts to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction. In a narrative by turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victims even as she imparts wisdom profoundly hard-won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:31 -0400)

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In this memoir, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was transformed when at age 18 she was raped and beaten in a park near her college campus.

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