On rare days when my husband won’t be fetching me at the office, I usually pass by Book Sale before lining up on the terminal way home. If there’s something I like, I find myself confronted with two choices: 1. Buy it and 2. Bury it. The thing is, I seldom bring spare money so it’s often No. 2 – I have a habit of carrying just the exact amount which is also my way of saving up without a choice.
But one August night, I managed to overlook this self-depriving habit; I found a book I like while having extra cash in my wallet. It was a quaint yellow paperback book with “lucky” slightly embossed in clean font. It was a book by Alice Sebold who I knew only by “The Lovely Bones” back then.
The Lovely Bones trailer, in case you had missed the movie.
Lucky Author: Alice Sebold Genre: Memoir, True Crime, Nonfiction Year Published: 1999 Publisher: Scribner
Lucky piqued my interest because I like the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones. But what actually struck deeper was when I read it was a memoir of her rape. What? The Lovely Bones’ author was raped in real life? And then, I got intrigued. Why would anyone call her own rape bio “Lucky”?
The chapter began with the night of Alice’s rape. As she went into the details of how things happened – the wrestle, the disrespect, the progression, the surrender, and the fact that she was a virgin – I told myself it must have been an emotional struggle that persisted beyond several calendar years.
“People think a woman stops fighting when she is physically exhausted, but I was about to begin my real fight, a fight of words and lies and the brain.”
Rape has its way of permeating lives and destroying then believed ideals of how things work. It has deep and intertwining psychological effects that damage the way victims see themselves and everyone else. Rape basically destroys trust, hope, and even self-love. And for those who care for the victim, rape could build an environment of endless guilt and regret.
“Those who say they would rather fight to the death than be raped are fools. I would rather be raped a thousand times. You do what you have to.”
So again, why would a rape memoir be called “Lucky”? It turns out the title was a remark about how she’s “lucky” to have been alive since a woman was raped and killed on the same tunnel she was taken to. Though I found the blitheness of the word “lucky” to be in bad taste at first, I took it back after reading since Alice is indeed lucky. Because aside from the fact that she had lived to tell and that she was deeply supported in her most vulnerable moments; not all victims could bring their violators into justice.
Lucky is a beautiful story of how a victim recovers to become a survivor. Though violence in all forms could be traumatic and damaging, like what Alice Sebold had said:
“No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.