Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (first published in 2015 by Pan Macmillan)
Ani FaNelli is 28 years old and lives in New York. She works as a senior editor at the prestigious The Women’s Magazine. She’s starving herself (almost literally on a mere 700 calories a day!) for her upcoming Nantucket wedding to finance guy, Luke Harrison.
Also, she was gang raped by 3 of her classmates as a 14 year old girl.
An unsupervised party, lots of booze, lots of horny teen guys and one girl. Her. TifAni FaNelli as she was formerly known. What did she think was going to happen? Some said.
The guys who raped her didn’t even remember much about that night. But after 14 years she still remembers what it felt like to wake up with Liam between her legs, then later, hunched over the toilet with Pyeton behind her, the toilet full of blood; and waking up next to Dean the next morning. Naked and raw.
Not many knew about the incident. But those who knew didn’t call it rape.
Skipping back and forth between her ages, 14 and 28, the novel gives us a very vague before and after as she never really dealt with what happened to her. Knoll’s style of writing is undoubtedly brilliant. Every step of the way you feel as if you are there, in every scene, smelling, tasting and feeling everything she smells, tastes and feels which makes for a thoughtful and beautifully crafted work of fiction.
At 28, Ani seems to have it all; she has her shit together as one would say. Which goes to show how little we ever really know about each other. Her mother, her fiancé, her best friend, they have no clue as to what she’s really thinking.
The only one is her high-school teacher, Andrew Larson. He understands her because he knew everything and supported her wholeheartedly. Always.
Luckiest Girl Alive has a similar message to that of Asking for it by Louis O’Neill, which I reviewed last year.
It is about being believed. It is about others making you feel as if you are to blame. Rape victims are questioned instead of believed, shamed instead of comforted and taught that they are tainted because of the sexual assaults forced upon their female bodies.
Because they were behaving inappropriately. They were dressed too risqué, they were at a party where there were only boys and they should therefore have known better. How dare they be women? How fucking dare they?