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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. Book Review.

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. Book Review.

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. Book Review.The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Published by Flatiron Books on May 16th 2017
Genres: Memoir, Non-fiction, True crime
Pages: 326
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four-stars

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’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. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky's crime.

But another surprise awaits: She wasn’t the only one who saw her life in Ricky’s.

An intellectual and emotional thriller that is also a different kind of murder mystery, The Fact Of a Body is a book not only about how the story of one crime was constructed―but about how we grapple with our own personal histories. Along the way it tackles questions about the nature of forgiveness, and if a single narrative can ever really contain something as definitive as the truth. This groundbreaking, heart-stopping work, ten years in the making, shows how the law is more personal than we would like to believe―and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

The law—with each side’s relentless pursuit of one story—has never known what to do with this complicated middle ground. But life is full of it.”

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich in The Fact of a Body

 

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir tells two distinct stories of two very different lives; two individuals who at first glance couldn’t be more different, but upon closer inspection echo hard truths and buried secrets, silent suffering and burdens and crimes.

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich loved the law, and believed in it. She was a child of two lawyers, after all. Staunchly anti-death penalty, she took on a summer internship at a Louisiana law firm specialising in defending and appealing death penalty cases.

On the first day of the job, however, her steadfast belief was called into question as the face of Ricky Langley appeared on a screen in front of her. She watched as he confessed to the 1992 murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory. A client of the law firm, Ricky Langley had successful appealed his death penalty. This is the fight that Alexandria had come for; fighting the death penalty is what she believed in.

So why did she want Ricky Langley so badly to die?

Consumed with uncertainty, Alexandria began to look deeper into the Langley case, hoping to find answers that would clarify, or justify, her position. The deeper she dug, the more questions arose, the more she needed to know, and the more intertwined became her own story with Ricky’s.

four-stars
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Hi! I'm Julia, a lifelong reader, an aspiring writer, medical doctor, and now book blogger, from Queensland, Australia! Go to 'About Read and Live Well' to learn more!

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