I started this book last year in hardcover but didn’t finish it before having to return to the library. I picked it up again about a month ago via OverDrive Media Console (I love technology!) and started it again. It only took me a few weeks to finish it, and I still can’t believe I zipped through 480 pages so quickly! It helped immensely that the book was authored by Amanda Knox, the young Seattle woman (six months younger than myself) who found herself caught up in a terrible murder scandal in Italy in 2007.
In November 2007 (when the murder of Meredith Kercher was first being publicized and investigated) I was living out West for the first time. I don’t remember being particularly interested in the case at the time but over the years my attention (and much of the world’s) was drawn to the details of the perplexing murder mystery. One disappointing point I will get out of the way is that I still don’t know if Amanda Knox (and Raffaele Sollecito) were involved in the British student’s murder or not. I am tempted to strongly believe in Amanda Knox’s proclaimed innocence and feel that she made a very convincing case for herself in writing this book. However, recent news stories of Knox’s alleged drug connections in Perguia, Italy and also her most recent re-conviction, have me doubting claims of her complete innocence. I don’t believe she is an angel but I don’t believe she is a devil either. The point is, after finishing the book, I’m still unsure of her involvement. And I didn’t want to be.
I think the memoir was well-written and not overstated in any way, and I think she had a right to have her perspective published. I also believe that she wrote the book in order to help restore the depleted funds put forth by her family for her acquittal campaign. The details of the case all point (forensically, at least) to Knox’s innocence and it definitely seems that the Kercher family was (and is) on a crusade to persecute her in order to bring “justice” to Meredith’s memory. It is known that Rudy Guede was investigated, convicted, and sentenced for Kercher’s murder, and that the Italian justice system made a mockery of the case by capitalizing on inept and inaccurate means of collecting evidence and a lynch-mob prosecution. I feel that Knox was fair and respectful in dissecting the actual problems that the prosecution ran into in trying to condemn her (and Sollecito) and I do believe that the investigation in Italy was heavily botched and non-professional. I also simply believe that the Italian system of convicting and incarcerating BEFORE evidence is carefully examined and reported makes for a highly unjust system of “guilty until proven innocent.” This is the complete opposite of our American system, and Knox would have been so much better off if the whole incident had occurred in the States. For more information on her alleged “drug connections” in Perguia, see this article.
I refuse to submit to easy conclusions even after reading Knox’s own words, but I think the media’s tendency to demonize her according to her admitted habit of “casual sex” is unfair. It has been proven that both Knox and Kercher were having “casual sex” in and out of committed relationships; neither one was more morally upright than the other. They were, as the press has dubbed them, each other’s “doppelganger,” shadows of each other in these regards. Portraying Knox as an obnoxiously evil, psychopathic, sex-crazed killer and Kercher as a reserved saint, helpless and at odds with Knox emotionally just isn’t fair. (The fact that Kercher’s friends all turned against Knox on the stand makes for another issue that I believe should be addressed, if possible. If stories don’t align, someone is lying. Knox asserts that even her two Italian roommates’ testimony loosely correlated to her own).
The book was very entertaining and if I were judging it solely on its ability to keep me entertained and amused, it would score five stars outright. The writing is excellent, professional, and highly convincing for anyone with or without much knowledge of the facts of the case. I hate to say I didn’t give it five stars because I don’t completely trust the author, but I feel that in such a highly publicized case as this one everyone’s motivations must be looked at with skeptical eyes. I’m about 70% convinced of her innocence regarding the murder, but that damn 30% keeps me thinking that she might know more than she’s willing to admit. I just don’t know.
Whether you walk away believing in her guilt or innocence, it’s still a good read if you’re interested in true crime and memoirs. Watch Amanda Knox reassert her innocence on Good Morning America in January 2014.
Four stars out of five for professional, emotional writing from Knox (assisted by ghostwriter Linda Kulman); I will reasonably put aside my still uncertain verdict of guilt or innocence in order to praise the quality of the writing.