|August 4, 1999|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
|364.15/32/092 B 22|
|LC Class||HV6561 .S44 1999|
Lucky is the 1999 memoir by the American novelist Alice Sebold. Sebold is best known as the author of The Lovely Bones. The memoir describes her experience of being raped and beaten by a stranger when she was eighteen in a tunnel near her college campus, and how this traumatic experience shaped the rest of her life.
In 1981, 18-year-old Alice Sebold was living and studying in Syracuse, New York. Sebold was finishing her freshman year at Syracuse University when she was brutally attacked, beaten, and raped while walking home through a park near campus in the early morning hours of May 8. Her attacker told her that he had a knife and that if she screamed or made any noises, he would kill her. When Sebold reported the crime to the police, they remarked that a young woman had once been murdered and dismembered in the same location. Thus, the police told Sebold, she was "lucky".
Shortly after the assault, Sebold returned home to Pennsylvania to live with her family for the summer before beginning her sophomore year at Syracuse University. After months of no leads by the police, Sebold spotted the man who raped her while walking down the sidewalk. The man smirked at her, and remarked that he knew her "from somewhere" before continuing on. She called the police, who apprehended him.
Among her professors at the time was Tess Gallagher, who became one of Sebold's confidantes. Gallagher accompanied Sebold to several legal proceedings. Also among her professors were Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, and Hayden Carruth.
During a police lineup, Sebold failed to correctly identify her assailant, as he brought a friend with him who looked very similar, presumably in order to confuse and intimidate Sebold into silence. Though, finally, the man was arrested again and tried for Sebold's rape and assault. After the individual was convicted, Sebold's off-campus apartment was burglarized and her roommate was raped, which forced Sebold to relive her own trauma. Though no connection to Sebold's rape case was ever proven, she felt that the burglary and assault were in retaliation for her rapist being imprisoned. Sebold's roommate looked at a photo lineup, but ultimately decided not to pursue any further legal action.
Sebold has stated that her reason for writing the book was to bring more awareness to rape and survivors. Sebold said, "One of the reasons why I wrote it is because tons of people have had similar stories, not exactly the same but similar, and I want the word 'rape' to be used easily in conversation. My desire would be that somehow my writing would take a little bit of the taboo or the weirdness of using that word away. No one work is going to accomplish the years of work that need to be done, but it can help."
- "Lucky" (Publishers Weekly, August 1999) Archived October 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-12. Retrieved 2006-02-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Excerpt from 'Lucky'" (USA Today, October 29, 2002) Archived April 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine