Publishing Date: April 30, 2013
In November 2007, Amanda Knox was twenty years old and had been studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, for only a few weeks when her friend and roommate, a young English student named Meredith Kercher, was brutally murdered. The investigation made headlines around the world, and Amanda's arrest placed her at the center of a media firestorm. Young, naive, grieving at the horrifying death of her friend, and with little more than basic knowledge of the Italian language, she was subjected to harsh interrogations during which she struggled to understand the police and to make her own words understood. The subsequent trial exposed Amanda to international scrutiny and speculation, and she became a tabloid staple. In 2009, after an extremely controversial trial, she was wrongly convicted of murder. But in October 2011, after Amanda had spent four years in an Italian prison, and following a lengthy appeals process, the conviction was overturned. Amanda immediately flew home to the United States.
Now, in Waiting to Be Heard, Amanda Knox shares for the very first time the truth about her terrifying ordeal. Drawing from journals she kept and letters she wrote during her incarceration, Amanda gives an unflinching and deeply personal account of her harrowing experience, from the devastation of her friend's murder to the series of mistakes and misunderstandings that led to her arrest. She speaks intimately about what it was like, at the age of twenty, to find herself imprisoned in a foreign country for a crime she did not commit and demonized by the international media, and about the impact on her family and loved ones as they traveled back and forth to be at her side so that she would not be alone. She describes the relationships that bloomed with those who believed in her innocence and how the strength of her family helped her survive the most challenging time of her young life. With grace and gratitude, Amanda describes the aftermath of the trial and her return home to the States, where she is ale to once again look forward to the future.
When this all began in the fall/winter of 2007, I was just starting college, and never paid much attention to the media accounts surrounding the murder and trial. However, it always intrigued me a little. I wasn't really sure whether she was guilty or innocent, but I thought reading this book would be insightful. My mother-in-law picked this book up shortly after it came out, and read it right away. I then borrowed the book from her because she said it was really good and she couldn't put it down. I really had high hopes! In the beginning, I really didn't like the writing. The story itself was interesting, but I was getting irritated by how it was written. It's hard to describe, but I just felt like she was trying way too hard to prove her innocence. I wish she had just stated the facts of what happened rather than also using the pages to try to convince everyone. Because of that, I found myself turning to other books rather than this when I wanted to sit down and read. However, it got better as the book went on. Maybe the writing got a little better, or maybe I just tried to look past it; whatever it was, I'm glad I kept reading.
When I started the book, I wasn't sure if she was guilty or innocent. Now I'm favoring innocence, but its always hard when you really only have one side of the story. Nevertheless, it seemed like the prosecution and police really tried everything they could to get a fast conviction, and it worked initially! The evidence they had was really weird, for lack of a better term, and they used the evidence to fit their story, rather than letting the evidence tell its own account of what actually happened. I still can't believe how naive Amanda was with the whole process and there's just something about her that's a little off, though I can't put my finger on it. But it definitely seemed like she grew up while in prison; she finally learned to fight back and didn't just sit back and let things work out for itself.
On a side note, not really relating to the book, is that I can't get over how different the prison system is in Italy compared to the US. They seem to have so much more freedom in Italy than any prison that I've been to here (which is quite a few, actually, because of my undergrad degree in criminal justice and law degree). In the US, you don't get to buy your groceries and cook dinners yourself, you don't live in a run down version of a studio apartment, and you rarely, if ever, get to choose who you live with in your cells. Not that I'm saying she had it easy; I know she didn't, and I can't imagine what it would be like to have your freedom taken away. It's just interesting to contrast the two countries prison systems.
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