First off, this book is intense. It talks frankly about school shootings, sexual violence, and gang rapes. If that hits close to home, please tread carefully.
My mom got this book for me last year and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to read it for a variety of factors that will probably consitute another blog post at some point. So for now, let’s just say some of the elements of this book definitely hit close to home. I wanted to make sure I was in the right mental head space to read it and frankly, with my schedule lately, I haven’t been.
It starts off with the protagonist, Ani. She’s a high flying editor at The Women’s Magazine who came from a well-meaning family in Pennsylvania and is now engaged to a hotshot finance guy in New York City. She seemingly has a perfect life, look, and hubby to be. But like all people, she isn’t perfect and she’s a little more rough around the edges than people think.
Ani’s real name is TifAni and she was gang-raped in high school, humiliated (as several sexual violence survivors are), and survived a school shooting on top of that. There are several nuances to each of these parts in her life but I don’t want to give too much away. What I loved about this book is how honest it is about sexual violence and later parts of your life. This kind of survival has a tendency to trickle over for years, sometimes decades to come after the actual event. And it’s hard. It’s hard to articulate why something that happened 20 years ago still may be a factor why you can’t get intimate with somebody or why certain sounds still make you jump, even if logically, you know there’s nothing to be afraid of.
The hype on this book is real. I finished it in just about a day because I just wanted to know what happens. I wanted to connect with Ani more because I saw myself in her more than I care to admit to the blogosphere. It’s a deep mess of a book but the author, Jessica Knoll, does a phenomenal job of articulating what this kind of event can do to a person. Maybe it’s because The Luckiest Girl Alive is inspired in part by her own rape, which if you’re in a place to do so, you can read more about here.
I love authors and famous people who get real about what they’ve been thru, what they’re still working thru, and how they’ve seen some real successes in spite of it. It’s motivating to me, especially right now.