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by Alice Sebold

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."
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ISBN: 0316096199
ISBN13: 978-0316096195
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Professionals & Academics
Author: Alice Sebold
Language: English
Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st edition (September 2002)
Pages: 272 pages
ePUB size: 1235 kb
FB2 size: 1129 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 733
Other Formats: lrf lit azw docx

Yes, we survivors can tell in a second of eye contact.
Alice's courage may be appreciated by many, but is viscerally appreciated by other victims.
Her prose and the rhythm of her writing makes this memoir all the more powerful--as if the story weren't horrific and devastating enough, of the rape and of being forced to live the rest of your life with the flinching and rage of someone who has been forever altered by having been raped.
Thank you, Alice Sebold.
Very well written and the little details of human interaction and observation are what makes this story so unique and special. As a new mother, the beautiful parent-child perspectives caused me to stop and look at my parents anew. I also look at my little baby girl and can't imagine this happening to her but that's the world we live with, I suppose. Horrible and lovely all at once. Well done.
Reading this book after watching the movie adapted from it was enjoyable. I seek these out and am usually rewarded. As I read..reflecting on the changes that were made adds a level of comfort to the read. Highly recommend this book and the movie.
This book is in no way easy to read. It starts out with a graphic account of 18 year old Alice Sebold's rape. I say account because it is mostly just facts, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. However I do think it was necessary to know the details to be able to understand how a horrible ordeal that lasted an hour affects the victim forever in so many different ways. It's a story of courage but without a halo. Sebold doesn't come off as having all the answers. She just explains how she got through the rape, trial and its aftermath. And she didn't do it without difficulty.

The book strikes me as clinical in many ways, in particular Sebold's account of the trial and the defense attorney's attempt to exonerate his client. The facts themselves are enough to indict the legal system that always tries to blame the female victim. However, in this case, the prosecutors had a nearly perfect victim. Sebold was a virgin before the rape, was brutally beaten in easily photographed ways, had not used drugs or alcohol and after a few initial stumbles, is able to catch on to the defense lawyer's attempts to cast a bad light on her or twist her words. I really appreciate that the book didn't become a raging diatribe at any point. It simply points out ,as Sebold says, that being a woman can suck, because they are always trying to smash you down. Even the aftermath of the rape and Sebold's trying to get on with her life after the rapist's conviction rings very true and is touching without trying to emotionally manipulate.

If you want to know how such a brutal crime can affect you or simply read about someone who made it through, it's worth reading this book.
Susie Salmon was murdered when she was fourteen years old. She is also the narrator of this book. Susie watches family and friends from her heaven. Susie describes how her murder affected her family and friends. She tells about her murderer, and what might have led him to his destructive way of life. Susie also expresses the beauty and joy of human existence. As her story unfurls, we learn more about Susie and her community. We are also reminded of the beauty of everyday life.

This book truly deserves more stars than I can give it here. Written in a down-to-earth manner, the human condition is examined. The characters are real and the settings vivid. This book is moving and utterly unforgettable!
Well, this book obviously has nothing to do with The Road by Carma McCarthy so I'll just get that comparison out of the way from the start. It is not a story of the love between father and son or mother and daughter. It is a love that lives on when the person is permanently removed. It is about those whose love will undergo changes but will never change. Ms. Sebold is a gifted story teller indeed. She uses the victim as the narrator but unlike other books suffering this plot line, where the victim holds revenge or anger, Susie Salmon does neither. The plot is pretty typical by now, victim was chosen by a serial killer that has a perchance for rape and violence but presents to the world as a humble and simple man. *Yawn*. But when Ms. Sebold set it to pen and paper it took on a remarkable change. Much of it was more believable to me and that made it a book that I will read again, just like The Road or Daisy Fae and Magic Man. I am well aware of the changes that occur within a family when an act of violence is visited upon a child. My sister was violently raped at 13 in 1979 in a small city. Up until that time, life was normal for us. Although she wasn't killed at the time of violent rape she took her own life 8 years later. It seemed that during those 8 years we were waiting the violence that had been done to her to end, like holding our breaths and hoping find a way out as a family so we could resume our lives. After her death the family's fate was sealed. Every single experience refers back to the event that ended up defining my sister: a life that in truth ended at 13. Perhaps my personal history is the reason that I've become intolerant of plot lines by naive but sensationalist writers. I undertook this book with much reservation expecting much of the same bunch of baloney. I found instead an author with perception and depth.

In this book the character who are affected directly by Susie's death all take on the different tiers of mourning. Her father, Jack, exhibits the personal reflection of failure to protect or to have been able to have foreseen the events in time to have changed the death event. Her mother, Abigail, is denying the event and she is running so fast that she cuts all ties. Her sister, Lindsey, is stepping into her sister's shoes until she realizes she has become herself and she can manage to move forward. Her brother, Buckley, is the anger stage; the refusal to acknowledge the finality of death and the changes it brings. Her first and only budding romance, Ray Singh, represents the 'if only' phase. Her Grandma Lynn is the accepting phase. While Ray Singh's mother, Ruana Singh is the revenge phase. And Ruth Connors, the girl who is haunted by Susie in the storyline, give voice to the underlying memories that those of us carry ever second of the day after the violent deed has changed our lives forever. She is the lasting and living proof that a violent act ripples through society endlessly even when we by standers are unaware of the act.

I was grateful that Ms. Sebold didn't set out to redeem the perpetrator's, George Harvey's motivations and actions, although at times I was fearful the story line was falling that way. Rather she simply told the story-history in glimpses and left George's motivations and actions unexplored.

I also applauded that every character was flawed and their redemption was held within their flaws. This book was well written, engaging, and memorable. I will be following this author's future progress.