Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book 12: Lucky by Alice Sebold

I'm just going to cut to the chase with this one, because I'm in class and ought to be paying attention.

I was pretty disappointed by Lucky. I'm not sure if there's a way that this book could have been written better. It tackles really ugly subject material. I felt sick to my stomach while I was reading Lucky, and while that's probably the appropriate response to such material, it's not a comfortable feeling to endure throughout a 270+ page book.

Lucky is Alice Sebold's narration of the brutal rape and beating she experienced as a freshman in college, and of her efforts to return to normal while working to bring her rapist to justice.
Delightful, no?

That's really all you need to know about the plot. Since it's a memoir, most of it is spent in introspection and there aren't really any grand sweeps of action. This would be fine if the book weren't so moody and (for lack of a better word) EMO, but because it's paced so slowly and because Sebold's recovery experience is so entrenched in terrible, negative emotion (and, seriously, whose wouldn't be?), the middle of the book becomes muddy and plods along before diving headfirst into the ending.

The book doesn't even end on a high note, though. There's a somewhat predictable twist toward the end involving a college roommate, after which Sebold's character in the book descends into a spiral of drugs and self-destruction. She waits until the very end to let shine some teeny tiny ray of sunshine, and it barely manages to save the book from utter emo destruction.

Like I said before, I'm not sure if there is a better way to write a book like this. It's rough stuff to try and address, and Sebold seems to have done her best to talk about what is obviously a difficult subject. Still, while I didn't really expect to enjoy the book (because, really, how do you enjoy a book about rape?), I don't feel like I gained much from it either. I felt bogged down by it, and really only saw it through to the end out of a sense of duty.

If you're interested in reading an Alice Sebold book, I suggest you hit up The Lovely Bones instead. While it deals with a similar premise, the writing is much better and the mere fact that it is fiction makes it easier to digest.

Grade: B-
Rating: 15+ for violent and graphic depictions of sex, as well as language.

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