Amanda Knox’s memoir, “Waiting to Be Heard,” is set to be released next week, and I will not read it, at least partly because I am not altogether convinced she is totally blameless in the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Italy the fall of 2007. I won’t bother to rehash the facts of the case because I’m pretty sure you already know them.
Now, I know Knox already scored a $4 million advance on the book, but the thought of her profiting further from “her side of the story,” which could potentially be total bullshit, makes me sick to my stomach.
I bring this up because the New York Times’ usually astute Michiko Kakutani has a review of the book this week, though I hesitate to call it a real review because it doesn’t say anything substantial about the book’s merits. Of course, it’s not Kakutani’s job to decide Knox’s guilt or innocence. But I do think this so-called memoir is trashy tabloid shit pretty much unworthy of Times coverage, to say nothing of the fact that it’s framed in even faintly glowing praise:
She spent a lot of time in prison writing journals, poems, stories, letters, even lists of what she would do with her life (i.e., things she would do if she got out immediately, or things she would do if she were 46 when she were released). All that practice and all that introspection have given her an ability to convey her emotions with considerable visceral power — the shock of feeling the supremely ordinary morph into the utterly surreal, the vulnerability of being on trial in a foreign country in a language she had not completely mastered, the isolation of being in prison and at the center of a swirling media storm… In the end her book is not only an effort to make a case for her innocence but it’s also a kind of bildungsroman.
But let’s entertain the notion that Knox did have anything to do with Kercher’s murder. (Which would practically be blasphemy to the press here in the U.S.!) Does Kakutani’s critique hold up if the book is in fact a work of fiction? I think it would have been worthwhile — or at the very least, amusing — for the reviewer to wonder aloud about that possibility.
NB: Another thoughtful writer, the New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead, has now also weighed in on Knox’s memoir — but, like Kakutani, she seems less interested in Knox’s version of “truth” than in the college student’s attitudes towards casual sex. Okay…?