This book is also a Memoir. We get a very personal -intimate -' private-as-private-is', up and close 'factual' and 'emotional' account from what author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich "The Fact of a body: A Murder and a Memoir" We get a very personal -intimate -' private-as-private-is', up and close 'factual' and 'emotional' account from what author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich shares with us about her life.
While the 'facts' are being spelled out to us -- a crime investigation over a 10 year period - and 'specifics' about why, what, when, and how things were for Alexandria Mariano-Lesnevich One of the most powerful-moments for me -- written beautiful- was 'very' personal. The author had just shared about 'coming out'. She was gay.
She was in bed with her partner - in the beginnings of sex. Sex was going terrific- until it wasn't. Alexandria was going under, into a memory. I'm not talking about sex - I'm not gay and I've never been molested I'm talking about a memory taking you under: - it's a 'strong- stronger than strong' feeling.
I haven't had that experience in years For me it is a white-hot slipstream blank-out, the nothingness I have no time and nowhere and no one. It use to be a feeling, a single concentrated excruciating feeling An overwhelming memory can come on strong taking power away from whatever present moment a person finds themselves in It's very hard to put this book down - it's raw - it pulls on your heartstrings - but after I finished reading it - I went back to the beginning and had questions about this excerpt: "As such, this is a book about what happened, yes, but it is also about what we do with what happened.
It is about a murder, it is about my family, it is about other families whose lives were touched by the murder. But more than that, much more than that, it is about how we understand our lives, the past, and each other. To do this, we all make stories. So what stories were made up in this book?
I don't know.
It's this line I was definitely 'sucked in' from beginning to end I have no way of knowing but doubt began to enter my mind. I still was turning the pages heavily though! Very unique fusion style of story blending 4 stars View all 14 comments. Aug 02, Brina rated it really liked it.
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Fact of the Body: A Murder and a Memoir is one of the books chosen for the nonfiction book club on goodreads this summer. I enjoy reading mysteries, true crime, and memoirs so I found the concept of this book to be intriguing. In a book that is a mixture of true narrative and personal recollections, Fact of the Body is an intricate web of emotions that come to a nexus when investigating a horrible crime from multiple angles.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich had overcome long odds and made it into Ha Fact of the Body: A Murder and a Memoir is one of the books chosen for the nonfiction book club on goodreads this summer. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich had overcome long odds and made it into Harvard law school. After her first year there, she gained an internship at the law offices of Stafford Clive near Lake Charles, Louisiana. The office was the lead defense counsel of convicted pedophile Ricky Langley who had gained a second trial ten years after his first had landed him on death row.
Accused of killing and molesting a six year old, Langley's counsel fought to keep him from the death penalty, either with a conviction of life in prison or by reasons of insanity. Marzano-Lesnevich had chosen to enter the law not just because both of her parents were lawyers, but because she was morally opposed to the death penalty; until she became exposed to the Langley case and churned up ghastly images from her childhood.
As a surviving twin in a set of triplets, Marzano-Lesnevich barely made it out of infancy. Then the unthinkable happened-- her grandfather molested both her and her two younger sisters. While the images aren't gruesome they are tough to get through, especially for a parent of girls. Scarred emotionally and physically for life, she could never forget the baggage from her past, while her parents and sisters chose to cover up what had happened and move on.
It is not my place to question the parenting skills here, but Marzano-Lesnevich's family appears dysfunctional at best, and she became a loner, and later in life could relate to a convicted pedophile like Ricky Langley. Langley himself was the product of a fractured family, his parents and surviving siblings overcoming a horrendous car crash which killed two siblings and left his mother severely disabled.
Yet they survived as best as they could, living with family in Iowa, Louisiana. Ricky was a miracle baby but was either abused or ignored as a child. One could almost feel sorry for him that is until he admired to molesting children simply for enjoyment from the time he was nine years old. That Marzano-Lesnevich could relate to him on any level was tough to swallow, and the sections about Langley and the crimes he committed were both repetitive and heinous.
As a result, I read fast not because I was excited to find out whodunit but because by the two-thirds point I was ready for some of these gruesome memories to be over. Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich has created a multi-layered, complicated premise for a book combining memoir and fact. Weaving two different instances of child molestation with entirely different outcomes, she attempts for the reader to sympathize with both the offender and the victim.
While this might have worked for me when she described her own story, I had little sympathy for Ricky Langley, as tough as his childhood might have been. Fact of the Body might be ushering in a new eclectic genre of book but the fusing of stories here did not work for me, especially with the sometimes gruesome images. I imagine that if this was not a group read I would not have read it. A compelling story nonetheless, I rate Fact of the Body 3.
Jun 17, Jen rated it really liked it. A memoir and a Murder. Two separate lives that disturbingly cross over. Two lives that live with past horrific secrets that have hauntingly shaped who they are. One a murderer. One a law student. Marzano-Lesnevich is a law intern when her path crosses with Ricky Langley, child molester and murderer, on death row. With her own molested past, she seeks to understand this boy child who did to children what was done to her.
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Rather than hate, which can be done so understandably easily, she A memoir and a Murder. Rather than hate, which can be done so understandably easily, she chooses to understand why. Seeking answers through his past to help her understand what happened to her. A victim; a predator. An obsession. This is raw. She puts forth a Herculean effort that most would or could not do.
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Empathy for a child molester is what she creates. Confronting our own discomforts and emotions. I hope never to find out. View all 44 comments. It is hard to categorise this book — partly, it is the disturbing story of a murder, but it is much more than that. Part memoir, written almost as a novel, this is a painful, thoughtful account of a crime and how it affected those involved , but also how it changed the life of author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich.
The author is the daughter of a lawyer and, as long as she can remember, she recalls being fascinated by the law. At the age of twenty five, she went to New Orleans to fight the death p It is hard to categorise this book — partly, it is the disturbing story of a murder, but it is much more than that. At the age of twenty five, she went to New Orleans to fight the death penalty, by interning with a law firm that represented people accused of murder.
The author believed her views and opinions were set in stone, but then she meets Ricky Langley, who is facing the death penalty for the murder of six year old Jeremy Guillory.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME ELEVENTH.
Jeremy was the son of a single mother, Lorilei; who was pregnant with her second child when Jeremy went missing. Marzano-Lesnevich entwines the story of Lorilei and Jeremy, with that of Ricky Langley and with that of her own life. I have no wish to give spoilers in this review and you need to read this book in order to discover the links between those involved. However, this is a book about how the past impacts the present. About how families have secrets and how life is not as clear cut as we imagine it to be.
There are grey areas which, unlike in a novel, are not easily wrapped up, completed, finished or put away. We carry our life experiences with us and they colour our opinions, shape our present and influence our future. This is a beautifully written, very moving book, in which every person touched by events are dealt with sympathetically and with respect.
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I am glad that I read it. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review. View all 4 comments. Blending the best facets of history and historical fiction writing, this memoir of both the factual and imagined past bring alive the murder of a young boy, Jeremy Guillory, by a confessed pedophile, alongside the author's own sexual abuse by her grandfather. It's not easy reading but it's exceptionally well written. Despite having an opposition to capital punishment that was fundamental to her decision to study law, her introduction to this death penalty case while working as intern led Marzano Blending the best facets of history and historical fiction writing, this memoir of both the factual and imagined past bring alive the murder of a young boy, Jeremy Guillory, by a confessed pedophile, alongside the author's own sexual abuse by her grandfather.
Despite having an opposition to capital punishment that was fundamental to her decision to study law, her introduction to this death penalty case while working as intern led Marzano-Lesnevich to a difficult decision, that she actually wanted this particular man to die. Her personal experience and her obsession with this case interweave as a journey towards understanding. Above all, the book addresses the complexities inherent in evaluating our own histories and those of others. Truth is a slippery concept, our memories change, stories are modified, facts are chosen for the narrative we wish to present or to hide things we wish to forget.
As the author says, where we start the story can affect how we feel about the ending. Ricky Langley admits to killing Jeremy, but does it matter if he didn't mean to? What if he was abused as a child himself? What if he abused Jeremy before killing him? What if he repeatedly asked for help, to be put away or killed before he harmed a child, and never received any help?
What if he was psychotic at the time?