Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party!
Today’s featured book is a hybrid of true crime and memoir and I have never read anything quite like it. It’s beautifully written and I was very impressed by the author’s strength and bravery in sharing their story. The storyline has two parts, a murder retrial of a pedophile where the death penalty sentence has been overturned and the author’s own story of molestation that they had blocked out and that their family had dismissed.
Title: The Fact of a Body
Author: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Synopsis: Before Alex Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, they think their position is clear. The child of two lawyers, they are staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as they review old tapes–the moment they hear him speak of his crimes — they are overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by their reaction, they dig 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 Alex pores over the facts of the murder, they find themself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, they are forced to face their own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors their view of Ricky’s crime.
But another surprise awaits: They weren’t the only ones who saw their 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.
- Add to Goodreads
- April 2020 news article: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Louisiana man who was convicted three times of killing a 6-year-old boy while on parole as a sex offender.
What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
2019 Posts Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Wrap Up
2018 Posts Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4
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I absolutely loved this book too, and I agree with you — it was like nothing else I’ve ever read. I still get chills thinking about it. Just extraordinarily well told. Great to get your take on it!!
Thanks Rennie. I doubt there are many books I’ve read that you haven’t! I saw that Ricky Langley was in the news as recently as April of this year and that the author is working on a new book!
I saw that they were working on a new one too, very exciting! Their writing was exceptional. And I didn’t see he’d been in the news, I need to google it and see what happened!! Thanks for letting me know.
PS I think you’ve read tons I haven’t, we just have very good taste in favorites, hehe 🙂
I also found this to be an affecting read, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on it.
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