Heroine chic

As I mentioned, I was thoroughly enjoying Lucky, a memoir by Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones. Or maybe I didn’t mention the enjoying part, just the grisliness of the rape depiction.

The rape is described about a bajillion more times throughout the book, as she reports it to the police and her parents. And then again to the police when a suspect is arrested. And then again in the preliminary hearing and before the grand jury. And during the trial.

It doesn’t get old. I don’t know what it would be like to read the words, but hearing her speak them on the audio CD is rather lyrical. She did have to tell the story dozens of times. I found even the repetition of exact phrasing to be compelling. Especially during the trial when the defense attorney repeats every one of her answers back to her as though she’s lying. (“How far away would you say he was?” (“A hundred yards, 150 at most.” “A hundred yards? One hundred fifty at most??”)

Even though nothing bad has ever happened to me in my entire life, I related to her. I imagined that if I were to go through something like that, I would handle it as she had: “The best rape witness ever seen on the stand.”

I was dumbstruck, therefore, when listening to one of the last tracks of the book. (This is one thing I don’t like about the audio experience…stories end rather abruptly when you can’t tell with your fingers how many pages are left.) The chapter that begins with “Aftermath…” describes Alice procuring and then snorting cheap heroin.

Heroin? What happened to the heroine whose rape accusations were believable in part because she was stone-cold sober when it happened? Pot or acid, fine, but heroin? I’m so disillusioned.