Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti death penalty.
But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.
Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.
RATING: ♦♦♦♦ / 5
This book is not only a memoir, but it is also a thriller. It’s about how Alexandria takes a journey back into Ricky Langly’s past and in doing so, also travels back to the incidents that happened in her own life and how they affected her and moulded her into the person she is today.
The major theme in this book is pedophilia and it brings into light a lot of facts about pedophilia that not many people are actually aware of and how very common it is, regardless of how safe you think you or your kids are, because a pedophile can be anyone around you and this book explores the very exact thing.
The chapters are a mix of what happened with Ricky and what happened with Alexandria and with each incident that is mentioned, my emotions kept getting more and more intense. There is so much I want to say, but anything I speak of will end up being a spoiler of sorts and I don’t want to do that.
It’s frustrating that regardless of whatever century we are living in, when something horrifying happens inside one’s household, nobody wants to bring it to light, due to the fear of dishonour and shame and worst of all, the family is living in denial because they refuse to acknowledge the fact that a monster is living amongst them as that will uproot the basic foundation upon which the entire family was built on.
Another highlight of this book was the focus on the power of forgiveness because that liberates the wronged one’s soul from putting themselves through a constant cycle of misery in the name of seeking revenge or justice, and at the same time it is also the worst punishment for the wrongdoer because if whatever they did was for the sake of sadism or simply because they couldn’t stop themselves, they are no longer in control as forgiveness was the last thing they expected and it is the last thread connecting them to the victim.
Overall, this was a good read that evoked some intense emotions and made me very much aware of issues that I knew existed but never comprehended the severity of it all.