Early in my teens, I saw the movie Brokedown Palace, about American travelers duped into carrying drugs and thrown into a Thai prison, and my nightmares got a new theme. My greatest fear became finding myself accused of a crime somewhere far away from home, working within a frightening system different than my own. A few years after Brokedown's release, my nightmare changed and became more real. While studying abroad in Italy in 2007, American student Amanda Knox was accused of murdering her roommate. Though she has always maintained her innocence, Knox was thrown into a convoluted trial and retrial process, ultimately spending four years in jail overseas. On Sept. 30, Netflix debuts the documentary Amanda Knox, featuring new interviews with the subject herself. She's already told her story in her own words in print, and you'll want to learn what happens in Amanda Knox's memoir, Waiting To Be Heard in order to understand her full story.
There have been a couple of editions of this book, so a timeline is in order here. Then 20, Knox, along with boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, was detained by the Italian authorities and eventually charged with the November 2007 slaying of Knox's flatmate, Meredith Kercher. Knox was convicted in 2009 by an Italian jury of a list of charges including murder and sexual violence; the court sentenced her to serve 26 years. An appeal of the verdict was heard in 2010, and it took nearly a year to clear Knox and Sollecito through the dismantling of arguments alleged to be based on contaminated and misapplied DNA evidence. Knox returned home to the US, but her ordeal wasn't over. In 2013, Italy's Supreme Court threw out the acquittals and found her and her former boyfriend guilty again. Their last appeal was heard by that court in 2015; it ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict and both Knox and Sollecito could finally be fully free of the charges.
The first edition of Knox's memoir Waiting To Be Heard was published in 2013. The description of the book states that Knox drew "from journals she kept and letters she wrote during her incarceration" to create "an unflinching and deeply personal account of her harrowing experience." The 2015 edition includes a new afterword addressing the Supreme Court retrial and final appeal. "Amanda updates readers on her life since 2011, introduces the individuals who helped her persevere as her case continued through the Italian courts, and shares her plans for helping others who have also been wrongfully convicted," the Amazon listing reads.
The latest version of Waiting To Be Heard is available on Amazon as a paperback ($8), an audiobook, and as an e-book ($9). You can also order a copy from Barnes & Noble and Target, among other places. It's worth checking out, but of course, Knox's book only tells her own side of events, so you might want to watch the Netflix documentary as well. It's meant to investigate all sides of the crime, including the possibility that Knox might actually be guilty, so it'll help you make up your own mind about what really happened to Kercher.
Image: Harper Paperbacks