This is a searing and incredibly moving account of Sebold's rape as an 18-year-old college freshman in 1981. Brutally honest from cover to cover, Sebold does not pull any punches, whether describing her emotionally cold upbringing, the rape itself or the friends won and lost during the psychological fallout following the tragedy.
I found this a gripping true-life story, so gripping that I read it in one sitting. Sebold's bravery, not just in surviving the rape and helping to secure the conviction of her attacker, but in putting her experience down on paper to share with complete strangers, is incredibly inspiring. This is a heart-wrenching, disturbing and — surprisingly — witty book that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
And for those who have read Sebold's The Lovely Bones, it is an interesting insight into that novel's exploration of how a brutal crime can impact on an entire family.