Alice Sebold, Author, Book review, memoir, Non-fiction, Picador, Publisher, Setting, USA

‘Lucky’ by Alice Sebold


Non-Fiction – paperback; Picador; 272 pages; 2003.

Lucky is a searing and incredibly moving account of Alice Sebold’s rape as an 18-year-old college freshman in 1981.

Brutally honest from cover to cover, Sebold does not pull any punches, whether describing her emotionally cold upbringing, the rape itself or the friends won and lost during the psychological fallout following the tragedy.

I found this a gripping true-life story, so gripping that I read it in one sitting. Sebold’s bravery, not just in surviving the rape and helping to secure the conviction of her attacker, but in putting her experience down on paper to share with complete strangers, is incredibly inspiring. This is a heart-wrenching, disturbing and — surprisingly — witty book that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

And for those who have read Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, it is an interesting insight into that novel’s exploration of how a brutal crime can impact on an entire family.

2 thoughts on “‘Lucky’ by Alice Sebold”

  1. There is another vital story in Lucky. One she did not tell and could not admit to herself. Her friend Lila was raped on her bed in their apartment–That strikes me as more than coincidental –it strikes me as revenge from the man in prison–a topic that Alice was unable to admit or deal with. She briefly mentions it, but refuses to deal with it. Even though she had been in recovery after her first rape, this second brutalization of her by her rapist, through Lila (no wonder Lila refused to press charges) is what sent her into a tailspin that took her years and years to recover from. That is the second, untold (and unknown to Alice) story in the book. Is this obvious to anyone else? Rose


  2. Rose, thanks for your enlightening comment. I read this book more than 18 months ago, so some of my recollections are vague. But I do remember thinking it was kind of odd that her friend refused to press charges. Now I kind of know why.


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