Book review: Amanda Knox memoir

Book review: Amanda Knox memoir

I came into the Foxy Knoxy affair a bit late – the second round, actually, when she and her fling RaffaelleSollecito were appealing their conviction in 2011. Having missed out on the vindictive media coverage of the supposedly saucy, risqué young girl who was constructed as some sort of crazed sex demon, I found it all a bit odd. I found it odder, still, reading Knox’s memoir, Waiting to be Heard.

It reminded me of John Grisham’s non-fiction book, The Innocent Man, which profiled a recently deceased man who’d been wrongly accused of a rape and murder; the cops were under pressure to solve the murder, so when they decided in their minds who the culprit was, they took a blinkered view to any other evidence.

It’s much the same with Knox and Sollecito (though you get the feeling this is all far more about Knox, the fallen angel, a disgraced girl, sullied through her transgressions of sex, drugs and flippancy). Once the Italian police made up their minds that the pair were guilty, the evidence was retrofitted to the crime; all manner of mad theories were introduced to explain away any inconvenient items.

I became frustrated for Knox while reading it. Mostly I was frustrated along with her, at this retrofitting of evidence and being shut away for a crime she didn’t commit. She was powerless and helpless, and her silence – imposed upon her by her lawyers – helped neither her spirit nor her case. To a lesser extent, I was frustrated with Knox herself, wanting to scream at her, ‘Get out of there! Get on a train and leave! Now!’ You can see it coming, but you can still understand how Knox did not.

It is a tell-all book, to the point of not really needing to know some details. There’s a bunny-shaped vibrator, details of her exploration of casual sex, and plenty of drugs. (Still, her absolute honesty is raw.) There’s also Knox persuading you that she’s innocent, but beyond that, it’s a fantastic, gobsmacking, easy read.

Some good has come out of Knox’s incarceration, at least: her ability to write. The acknowledgements indicate she had some help constructing the factual side of her memoir, but it’s clear she knows how to pace a narrative, foreshadow events, and string out the action in just the right way to make the reader grip the covers in suspense. She's now studying creative writing, and undoubtedly she’ll be working on a first novel. Her profile won’t hurt sales and lord knows with those legal bills she could do with the money. Solid five stars.

$36.99, Harper Collins, available now