The Fact of A Body

The Fact of A Body

A Murder and A Memoir

eBook - 2017
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9
'Part memoir, part true crime, wholly brilliant.' - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train When law student Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is asked to work on a death-row hearing for convicted murderer and child molester Ricky Langley, she finds herself thrust into the tangled story of his childhood. As she digs deeper and deeper into the case she realizes that, despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. The Fact of a Body is both an enthralling memoir and a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories, and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.
Publisher: London : Macmillan, 2017.
ISBN: 9781509805655
1509805656
9781509805624
Characteristics: 1 online resource.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Marzano-Lesnevich was a Harvard law student and summer intern at a Louisiana law firm dedicated to defending death penalty cases, and she herself was decisively in the anti-death penalty camp. But when she was shown the taped confession of Ricky Langley, a convicted pedophile and murderer, she wa... Read More »

Chicago Public Library recommends this title as one of the best books published in 2017.


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b
becker
Mar 01, 2018

This book is partially a memoir that deals with the sexual abuse the author endured as a child and partially about her investigation into another case where a pedophile has been imprisoned for the murder of a young boy. She tells both stories with tenderness and dignity for everyone involved, which makes this a difficult book to criticize. Unfortunately I must say I thought the book was weak in several ways. It was structurally messy, a bit drawn out in places and I didn't see a strong link between the two stories aside from the abuse. I do admire the way the author focused on the humanity of all those involved, even the offenders. The individual stories were interesting but the book just didn't work for me.

u
uncommonreader
Feb 21, 2018

This book is both a memoir and a true crime story. I did not find that the two worked well together. It seemed to me that the author stretched to make the connections. In any case, a disturbing book and difficult read.

KateHillier Feb 19, 2018

As always it is very difficult to give a rating on someone relating their personal experience. This book is a hybrid of a true crime book and a memoir and it works very well. On one hand you learn about the case of Ricky Langley, a man convicted for the murder of a child. The author comes across his case as she goes through law school; she is a staunch opponent of the death penalty until she comes across his case. She is shocked at how much she wants him to die and how much his situation and crimes resonate with her own life. What follows is an investigation into her family and her life - and the crimes committed there.

It is both a fascinating and deeply upsetting read. I had to close the book several times to take a breath and sort through what I was reading. The author is incredibly brave and thorough with both Ricky's case and her own and it is presented emotionally while incredibly factually as well. It is an experience, and a trial, to read but the fact of this book being out in the world gives a record of the author's experiences as having actually happened. I hesitate to elaborate since the book jacket doesn't say much but tread carefully as this book deals with the death of a child and other terrible and unspeakable things done to children. It is, as already mentioned, incredibly difficult to read at points but it is an amazing piece of work that took a lot of time, effort, and strength to produce

CRRL_MegRaymond Nov 10, 2017

The author was against the death penalty - until she met a murderer and strongly wanted him dead. This reaction forced her to dig up family secrets of her own.

a
aafleming
Oct 19, 2017

I had just checked out and then not bothered to read another "serial killer" book, and decided that I was sick of this genre, usually involving a woman who becomes interested in some particularly savage serial killer and then writes a book about trying to "understand" him.

This book is sort of like that but is a complete departure from that genre and is fascinating! It is different from any "true crime" novel I have ever read and, once started, is impossible to put down. Would highly recommend it.

s
stefanas
Aug 21, 2017

One of the best books I've read this year. The author deftly parallels her own family history with a murder case that she has become obsessed with. As a lawyer, from a family of lawyers, she writes with a clear-headedness that is absent from most memoirs. If you are interested in true crime or memoir (or both!), this is a must read.

m
MplsTA
Jul 02, 2017

From the first page, this book pulled me right in. I have always liked true crime and this book is part true crime and part memoir.

The story is disturbing from covering a murdering pedophile to the author's sexual assault from her grandfather. I can see how this book may upset some readers.

RidnLibn Jun 04, 2017

A young law student works on a case to remove a convicted killer from Death Row. She realizes there are awful parallels between her life and that of the killer. The crimes are horrific. But Marzano-Lesnevich's meticulous research and gorgeous writing make this memoir a riveting read. "The Fact of a Body" is absolutely one of the best books of 2017. Not to be missed...

LPL_MeredithW May 06, 2017

"The Fact of a Body" almost defies description: it's a disturbing, moving, thought-provoking read that starts with a crime and widens in scope to consider how memory and experience shape who we are and how we exist in the world. There are passages in this book that made my stomach turn and other passages that made my heart ache, often in reference to the same people. This book isn't afraid to ask questions for which it doesn't have answers; it consciously refuses simple identification or definitions. It's not an easy read, and it's not going to be for everyone, but it's a richly rewarding meditation on truth and responsibility that I'll be carrying with me for a long time to come.

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