Waiting To Be Heard is the eagerly awaited memoir by Amanda Knox. In 2009, Knox was convicted—then later acquitted—of murdering her housemate, Meredith Kercher, while both lived and studied in Italy. During the trial, one reporter dubbed Knox the “angel face,” because she projects uncanny innocence, truth and beauty.
The story of Knox’s life—in the Northwestern part of the U.S., before she landed in Perugia, Italy—makes for interesting reading. A self-described “quirky kid” of divorced parents, Amanda had been a teenager who had dabbled in new experiences. Because she kept a journal, she describes with seeming accuracy her conversations with family, friends and boyfriends, at home and later in Italy.
Surprisingly, Knox wrote Waiting To Be Heard herself, and her writing is exceptional. (I had expected a co-authored book.) She aspires to be a professional writer, so we can look forward to more of her writings.
A causal factor in Knox’s circumstances was that her beginner-Italian could never match the Italian of a native—so she misunderstood, misread and misspoke. When her two Italian housemates consulted lawyers, Amanda was interrogated mostly without even an interpreter. Her exasperation and bewilderment are almost palpable. The consequence is that, upon acquittal and despite her innocence, she spent four mind-blowing years in prison.
Now aged twenty-six, Knox is candid in the book about her lifestyle and relationships at the time. Also, she reveals mistakes in a few of her personal choices. For example, her Myspace photos and writings were used in court—to her detriment. “Looked at together,” she comments, “these latter images would have portrayed a typical American girl, not as tame as some, not as experimental as many, but typical among my age group—a group that had the bad judgment to put our lives online.”
Waiting To Be Heard projects a three-dimensional image of Knox as a mostly “typical American girl” who stumbled into a harrowing experience in Italy. But she is also resilient, intelligent and—after this experience—might make an excellent lawyer. Knox’s father’s statement, before she left for Perugia, sums up what was then a serious flaw: “I worry that you’re too trusting for your own good, Amanda.”
Readers—especially law enthusiasts—who wish to psychoanalyze Amanda Knox, or parse the facts and events to “re-try” the case, should read this riveting memoir.
--Yolanda A. Reid
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Note: Linda Kulman helped to write Waiting To Be Heard.