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Editor reviews

Alice Sebold spares few details of her rape while in college and the subsequent impact on her life. Be forewarned: this is at times gruesome, painful storytelling. But it is also compelling, because, with rare exceptions, we don't usually hear much about the lifelong impact of rape on the victim, the victim's friends and family (a fascinating story in itself), and even on the perpetrator. The courtroom experience is a real shock. Alice had incredible support throughout her ordeal, but even now you sense the ordeal, even for such a centered person, is never over. (John B.)

Summary

In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones) reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an 18-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; 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 a trauma victim even as she imparts wisdom profoundly hard won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved".

©1999 Alice Sebold (P)2002 Simon & Schuster Inc., AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic reviews

"A rueful, razor-sharp memoir...funnier than you'd think was possible...Sebold tells what it's like to go through a particular kind of nightmare in order to tell what it's like - slowly, boldly, triumphantly - to heal." ( Vogue)
"Sebold's wit is as powerful as her searing candor." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average customer ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Samantha
  • 30-06-09

Very raw

This was so completely real. Make sure you are ready for such a raw description of this type of horror. In a way I wish I hadn't read it. I completely went into victim mode.Great read if not so close to home.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kelleefornia
  • 10-03-15

GREAT BOOK! Really bad narrating.

This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read as a woman. Well, I haven't read any as a man.. but you get what I'm saying :-) This book is a must read for all women. It's also a must read for anyone that is close to someone that has been raped. It's incredibly insightful. It took my breath away.
Having said all of that... the book is 5 stars.. the narration, which I feel a little bit bad saying since it's the author that narrated the book, is just awful. She may as well have been reading out of the dictionary. She put zero emotion into this... well... that's what it sounded like.
I think it's a great idea for her to have read a prologue or epilogue, but not the whole book. I also understand why she wanted to narrate it... but the reason I listen to audiobooks is for the experience the narrator brings to it when I listen. The way the narrater brings a book to life is SO important. Someone should have let the author know she is a wonderful writer, but terrible narrator.
I would recommend READING this book... but I can't recommend the audio version. I will say the book itself is incredible!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • 18-10-03

Not for the faint of heart

This is a truly intense and heart wrenching experiance in the form of an audiobook. I think the fact that it is read by the author gives it all the more intensity. You really fall right into her experiances as she retells them in this wonderfully written and powerful biography. It is graphic and honest and does not hold any punches. Be ready for a book that is hard to hear, but well worth it.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rochelle
  • 18-04-14

A frank account of rape

I had to pause to come up for breath several times in the first few minutes of this book. But once started there was no way to put it down. I have a great deal of respect for Alice Sebold for being able to share this part of her story in such a frank manner.

Despite having described what happened to her many times to officials and friends the immediacy is replicated here in such a way that it winds you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 14-03-08

Moving

Well written, well read, and very moving: a lesson in how not to treat a woman who has been raped.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephanie
  • 05-05-03

Truth

This book was wonderful, gut wrenching, and in-your-face true.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Perk4me
  • 28-09-03

Riveting

This was a riveting story and admirably forthright. I would have liked to have read it instead of listening to it, the reason being that the author tells it in such an emotionless way and it is such an emotional story. It's a tough one to listen to, but worth it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tanya
  • 13-03-04

An okay read

An okay read, not an overall outstanding book, nothing I would gush to others about. Though it deals with a personal matter in the author's life I think the it was a poor choice to have her narrate the audio book. The author's voice is a little monotonous and after lengths of time, annoying. So much so that it overshadows the great storyline. Unless the audio book is released with a different narrator, my suggestion is this is a book to pick up at the bookstore and save your audible credit for something better, my suggestion being The Time Traveler's Wife.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Suzanne H
  • 26-02-07

I loved it

The plot is dark and disturbing, but it is told from an innocent child's point of view. I found this story to be unique and compelling. The reader was perfect. I simply could not "put it down".

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leese-Calver
  • 26-06-03

Fascinating and Inspiring

I truly enjoyed this book. Her intelligence, strength, insight and perserverence dealing with what she went through is an inspiration to all. Looking pain and hurt in the face and saying, "You are NOT going to defeat me!" Having the attitude that situations can make you a BETTER person instead of a BITTER person is something we all need to rememember.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful