Thoughts on : The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (audio)

Posted by on September 8, 2017 2:47 am in 4.5 stars reads | 1 comment

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Audio narration : Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Genre : Memoir, True crime

About the Book  :

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs 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 Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.

My Thoughts :

Memoir or murder mystery? This book is, in fact, a little of both. The Fact of a Body skips between the accounts of the author’s childhood and Ricky Langley’s crime, and the result is, without a doubt, deeply unsettling.

I’ve never read a book quite like this one. I’m always intrigued by thrillers and true crime, but I’ve never read something that was so intimate, so raw, so heartbreaking. I felt a constant push and pull with the book : it got me so angry, so sad, that I needed regular pauses in my listening. But whenever I was away from it, I found myself thinking about it.

I thought it was interesting to have the author explain her reactions and her thought process regarding Ricky Langley by going back through her own history. I often wonder about a writer’s motivation, especially when reading articles or nonfiction, so having these two stories being told in parallel was fascinating. It explored some very important issues (abuse, death penalty, forgiveness) from different angles that many times confronted my own views.

The audio narration was also very well done. Memoirs are one genre where I feel authors can do a good job of reading their own work, and this one was no exception. Having the author herself narrate such a harrowing story allowed me to connect with her and her story in a way I had never experienced before on audio. I have to give mad props to the author for so generously sharing such a personal story.  

I had no idea what awaited me when I started listening to The Fact of a Body, but I’m so glad I picked this one up. It was a powerful experience, hard but necessary. I highly recommend it – but please note that the book has some distressing descriptions of Ricky Langley’s crime and child abuse.

1 Comment

  1. I used to devour true crime but don’t read it much these days. I thought I might have this and was disappointed to see I don’t. I think I’d like it a lot.

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