Like me, you are probably wondering why a book about rape is called Lucky. I wondered if it was going to end up being ironic because, even discussing something so awful, Sebold was able to write with a sense of humor. Or, in the end, would it be a title that reflected some sort of truth? Through this ordeal did she find a knew way to view life, and through that feel lucky? However, the prologue explains these wonders away:
In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky...But at the time, I felt I had more in common with the dead girl than I did with the large, beefy police officers or my stunned freshman-year girlfriends. The dead girl and I had been in the same low place...During the rape my eye caught something among the leaves and glass. A pink hair tie. When I heard about the dead girl, I could imagine her pleading as I had, and wondered when her hair had been pulled loose from her hair tie...I will always think of her when I think of the pink hair tie. I will think of a girl in the last moments of her life.Then, from the beginning lines of the first chapter, Sebold throws you into the situation, much like she was. It is unexpected and brutal and she hides no detail or tries to buffer any blow. From this point on, as a reader, I knew that she was going to be painfully blunt and honest about each part of her story. In this way, it felt like Alice was opening up her heart and being completely vulnerable with her audience. I couldn't help but appreciate and be thankful for her candor and her willingness to be that authentic. It absolutely takes bravery to be able to dig into your past and lay it all out like she was able to do. In another review I read it said, "All the words that follow are testament to this; every page is an act of courage." Nothing truer can be said about this piece.
However, Sebold doesn't write for sympathy or repentance. She doesn't blame herself nor does she throw blame at others. She tells her story because it is hers. She is proof that something awful can happen, that it can ruin a part of yourself, a whole part of your life, take from you, and you can still come out of the situation, surviving it and its aftermath. It's a perspective that is powerful and valid. Through reading up on the fans of this book, I discovered that many of them were victims, themselves, who could identify with Alice and were in awe of her ability to stand up to her attacker. Many commented that they wished they could have done what she had done, or they were glad they weren't the only ones who went through this part of it, etc.
Of all the comments, the most common was that not many people could have written a story like this with the care, poetry, and honesty that Alice Sebold did. I'll go ahead and add my name to the list of readers who believe that. No one could have written it this way but Alice.