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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2002
Like her wonderful novel The Lovely Bones - which I've also reviewed and which you must read - Lucky is a harrowing, heart-wrenching book about the worst possible thing that can happen to a woman. Alice Sebold tells the raw story of her rape ordeal and her subsequent struggle for recovery with an honesty and warmth which is compelling. Lucky reads almost like a novel itself at times, with gripping moments of suspense, particularly during the court trial scenes.
Alice Sebold was the innocent victim of an unforgivable crime - but she doesn't ask for our sympathy or pity in these beautifully written pages. She earns our respect and admiration for the courageous way she tells how the traumatic events changed and shaped her life; how the naive college student would eventually become a hardened, determined aggressor herself in her brave fight for justice against her attacker. Sadly, this natural reaction to her personal violation came with a price - destructive behavioural damage that brought a later downward spiral into drugs. What the author didn't know at the time is that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; an anxiety syndrome that emerges following a psychologically distressing traumatic event such as rape, which she battles to overcome.
Can someone really, truly, get over something so savage and brutal as rape is the numbing thought you're left with long after you put the book aside? The past can never be forgotten, but Alice Sebold has managed to crawl from the wreckage and move on with her life to a happier future that has brought her international fame and acclaim. That says something about the human spirit - and everything about this remarkable woman.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2005
Straight away, let me mention that I also read The Lovely Bones; my opinion of that book was that it was contrived; after the first 60 pages it didn't really work for me.
Now this book: Very Impressive! This is a tough story to tell and the author did a great job. The voice is authentic and the details make it real, and I learned alot: i.e. how men accused of rape usually beat the rap. (I didn't know this; thought in fact the opposite was true!) Hang on through the entire book. The beginning is violent and intense -- and you may want to turn away or put it down -- don't! Keep reading. You heart will go out to this young woman, as my heart did. Keep reading, even through the later sections, the trial which, for me, was toughest part because it almost reads like a court transcription.
Now the kicker. Right when you think the book is over and you think the protagonist (or the author) is a "winner" -- pow! -- flashforward to the East Village years later. Here you'll see how although she managed to convict her rapist, she hasn't managed to put the entire event behind her. This is not a Hollywood ending. The protagonist/author experiences an aftershock of fear and self-loathing that she is unable to control, that pursues her even into another city, even years later; she can't seem to escape it. This epilogue is what really made me love this book. Life goes on, yes -- but misfortune sometimes takes a huge chunk of our spirit. And yet you must still go on! This book is a tribute to a true survivor, a book about real life; it now has a permanent place in my library. I recommend it strongly for those of you not afraid of entering the darkness, even for a moment; sometimes you need to enter the darkness in order to appreciate the light. I feel as if this book will stay with me a long time -- now that's great art! Along with this memoir, another book I'd like to recommend -- a much lighter, funnier book ('cause we all need to laugh too, my God) -- is The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez. Quite sweet and haunting, too; a comedy with a soul.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2004
The Truth shall set you free in this tell all honest look into the life in a terrible enviroment, the enviroment inside of a mind that has been physically and mentally abused.. The book delves into the pain that she had to live through similar to that of the reality based/courageous 'NIGHTMARES ECHO',has poignant,at times a bit of humor like that of 'RUNNING WITH SCISSORS', and a bit sorrowful like that of 'BEAUTY FOR ASHES'. No matter what comparrison you make....'Lucky' is an exceptional look at abuse..........and as I have seen from the prior books I have read, abuse comes in many forms and scars what it touches!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2007
It's rare to come across a book that I like as much as this one. Well, liked is probably not the right word since there are passages that deeply disturb, but then, that's what great literature does, I suppose.

The writing, the voice, is crystal clear, and this is one of the things that I enjoyed best about this insightful yet sometimes hard to take yarn. LUCKY will undoubtedly shock many--as it should. After all, it is about rape. As in her LOVELY BONES, Seabold pulls no punches, yet the work is not over the top, rather it is well crafted with pacing that allows the reader to take in what she has to say without being overwhelmed emotionally. Sebold describes for us, in great detail, the trial, the aftermath, and the emotional devestation she feels. This is no small book emotionally, the same way some other great reads are, and it takes someone with fortitude to get through it, especially if you're a woman. I would also recommend another great read that I recently came across titled "Bark of the Dogwood" for those interested in reading about individuals overcoming adversity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2005
Through a devastating rape and the ordeal to follow comes a courageous read from a fantastic author. Alice Seabold, best known for her novel, "Lovely Bones" has served us well with this telling memoir of painful emotions and difficult occurances that led her to the point of coming full circle.
As of late, I have been in bed rest due to a broken knee and have had the pleasure of reading some of the most riveting books I could have only imagined.
"Lucky" is one of thos books as well as Nightmares Echo, A Paper Life and Running With Scissors. Each are courageous reads with powerful healing journeys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2004
The majority of reviewers here are rape survivors, as am I. But my rape occurred 30 years ago and I thought I 'was over it'. Thirty years ago there was no counseling; woman generally kept it a secret and just got on with life as best they could.
I bought this book because I was interested in reading about how someone else 'got on with it' and found that she apparently didn't. What I gained from reading this material was the personal discovery that having been raped was still affecting my life and relationships and, I resolved to cover this old ground with a therapist so I could really move past it.
I agree with one reviewer that the ending felt like being dropped from a ten-story building - it was incomplete and sudden. The book contains the author's recollections of this horrific event albeit written in a curiously detached and emotionless voice and she never really fleshes out the story or provides a satisfactory conclusion. I sincerely hope that she finds the resources to help her really come to terms with her rape and to see her family in a more realistic light - they don't deserve to be thanked at the end of her book - and see damaging and isolating dysfunction in its true light.
In the end, the book is a useful read for anyone who's survived the violation of rape. Because the book is not 'about you' it's easier to see that it's illustrative of what to avoid, how to recognise when people are supportive or not, putting blame where the blame belongs and recognising the cathartic value of real anger.
I disagree with some of the reviewers here that she was too self-centered. A memoir, by definition, is self-centered and I didn't get the sense that she wrote this for anything other than catharsis. It has the same value as listening to someone else's tale and recognising in yourself what you could improve, change or acknowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2004
"Lucky" is one of those books that get under your skin, both emotionally and physically. I was drawn to it, both from the aspect of what the author went through, the ordeal that played again and again in her mind. But, I was also drawn in by the courage of this wonderful author. She gives us her soul in the words of this book. Tells us her life, which could not have been easy, but will in the end lend inspiration to others.
I would have to say "Lucky" is as great a book as that of "Nightmares Echo" by Katlyn Stewart
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on July 18, 2004
In this thought-provoking, chilling memoir, Alice Sebold recounts the events of her rape and the aftermath of that tragedy. While strong enough to go through with the trial and conviction of her attacker, Sebold's emotional state was deeply affected for many years after. Her memoir follows the events that occurred after her rape and the things she attempted in order to escape her pain.
Sebold captures this period in her life with great intensity and literary skill. Not only does the reader become informed of the actual events of the rape and the events following it, but we get a look into Sebold's home life and her personality before the night that would change everything.
This story isn't just about a college girl's rape and her survival story. It's a story about her life: her family, her friends, her childhood. Sebold explains how when she was younger all she wanted was to be hugged by her parents, but she would settle for something as simple as a touch because she was offered nothing more (and sometimes not even that luxury). It's about growing up in a dysfunctional family and getting through it. It's about surviving not only bad experiences in life, but surviving and coping with continuing bad situations.
A great read - highly recommended to anyone.
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on June 2, 2004
Alice Sebold was an 18-year-old college freshman, walking through the park after a party on the last day of school, when she was attacked and raped in May 1981. She details the brutal crime and its immediate aftermath in the dorm, the police station, home with her parents.
Then she chronicles her return to the campus where it all happened, and when a new uphill battle begins when she sees the rapist on the street and decides to prosecute.
Alice's life and relationships with friends and family take turns for the better and the worse, although not all at the same time and in the same direction. Her year back at school coupled with identifying the rapist and going through the trial is harrowing and taxing on the reader, one can only imagine what it was like for the author to go through it herself!!! Sebold paints a very clear picture, writing down every detail (carefully researched by meeting with her lawyers and other key players 15 years later.)
This is an important book for women to read -- the rape and trial that Sebold went through in 1981 could very well have happened verbatim today and any year before, in between or beyond.
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on May 10, 2004
Lucky is author Alice Sebold's autobiographical account of the violent, brutal rape she experienced at the end of her freshman year at Syracuse University. The first ten pages describe what Sebold recalls of the rape, which very effectively allows the reader to get a sense of young Alice's experience. What follows is a detailed account of what happened next, from Alice's initial reporting of the rape and medical care to the reactions of her family and friends to the eventual trial of her rapist. Sebold tells her own story in the same detached, unemotional narration which she utilized in her novel, The Lovely Bones, yet as with that book, the emotions clearly shine through her simple prose. At one point, Sebold shared the following observation: "I was learning that no one--females included--knew what to do with a rape victim." As the book continues, it is obvious that this statement applies even to Alice herself, as she struggles to figure out what to do. Although she calls herself a "successful rape victim," Sebold is unable to escape the traumatic effects common to so many survivors of this crime.
As a psychologist, I believe that some rape survivors might find support and optimisim in Alice's story, whereas others may be unable to relate to her particular experiences. As a reader, I wanted to know more about how Alice ended up; to me, Sebold's 10-page "Aftermath" section seemed to be a rushed, inadequate conclusion to Alice's compelling story. However, I still found this book to be a worthwhile read, especially given that I agree with Sebold's basic premise that one can experience horrible events yet still be blessed--I feel Lucky too.
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