There’s nothing that I love to do more than lay in the sunshine and read a good book. I’m a fast reader and tend to read “easy read” novels, so I go through a lot of books in a summer. We’re hoping to share some of our favorites with you here! (Sean already shared his latest read here.)
The book that has most captivated my interests lately is Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox. In case you’ve forgotten, Amanda was a 19 year old student at the University of Washington who studied abroad in Perugia, Italy. After being in Italy for six weeks, her roommate, Meredith, was murdered and she and her boyfriend were accused and imprisoned.
This case had huge media coverage and I remember following it. I was captivated- Amanda was just a few years older than me and I couldn’t help but think that that could just as well be me or one of my friends.
Honestly, I always felt fairly confident that she had done it. From what I remember in the case, I hadn’t seen any other probable suspects- though the idea of Amanda and her boyfriend killing Meredith because she wouldn’t have a threesome seemed a bit far fetched to me. In reading this novel, I was captivated by the lack of evidence against Amanda, and the circumstances surrounding her arrest. I was also baffled by the differences between the Italian and American judicial systems. I have always thought of Italy as a modern county, but Knox paints their legal system as entirely antiquated. Basically, while the US has a general policy that it is better for ten guilty men to be free than one innocent to be imprisoned, it truly seems that Italy would rather have ten innocent people in jail than one criminal free.
Throughout the novel, Amanda really shows how she matured and grew up, locked up in Italian prison. At the time of her novel, she was nineteen, which is incredibly young. She came to Italy to learn more about herself and experiment with life. She barely knew herself, the language, or her boyfriend (of five days), when it was all stripped from her. She was so deeply grieving the death of her roommate and trying to help the police find her killer, she didn’t even realize that she was a suspect (THE suspect, really) until she was imprisoned. Even after she was, she kept saying, it’s only for the weekend. Its really for my safety.
Another theme in the book was small choices that Amanda made that could have changed her fate. What if, after the murder, she had flown home, as her parents begged her to do? What if she had worked that night and had an irrefutable alibi? Or what if she had stayed home with Meredith that night, instead of spending the night at her boyfriend’s?
This book will suck you in. It doesn’t use flowery language or distracting side stories. It is a mater of fact, chronological account of Amanda’s experience, and it will have you begging for her acquittal. I cannot recommend this book enough.
I usually don’t buy books, especially not new books, and certainly almost never ever a hardcover new release. However, this book was worth it. Also worth oting is that Amanda was saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, court costs, and was even billed by the Italian courts for the investigative services done for the opposing sides (including thousands of dollars in translation fees translating her confiscated personal diaries into Italian) I felt pretty good giving her my $25. Though I’m sure she’s got some income streams going now, I feel good about giving a little back to her, after all that she has suffered.
We weren’t paid or perked to read this book or write this review. I just read this book and wanted to tell everyone about it! Click here to buy your own copy.