This novel is being touted as a fictional retelling of the Amanda Knox case, but there are enough departures from the original scenario to make it stand on its own. Lily is charged with murdering her roommate, Katy, while studying abroad in Buenos Aries and the circumstance are revealed through a variety of perspectives. Her father Andrew and sister Anna arrive not long after Lily’s arrest and are helpless amid the media frenzy that has assumed the worst about Lily. Her boyfriend Sebastian is a hermit-like oddity who seems to lack social skills and speaks like a 19th century nobleman. Though he is not arrested along with Lily, his role in the investigation is damning. I found the prosecutor Eduardo to be the most intriguing character, offering insight from a legal perspective and expressing frustration in his discussions with the accused.
I thought the book was most effective in its ambiguity. The details of Katy’s murder are not presented and there are no specifics about the crime scene. It simply delivers the experience of being in Lily’s orbit during the ordeal. I’m glad the author did not complicate the narrative by making the prosecutor a corrupt sensationalist (as he was in Amanda’s Italy) or choosing a country with a complex legal system. The story managed to be both straightforward and vague, but it works because Lily is a difficult character to relate to. She is certainly not sympathetic and comes off as immature, insolent, and selfish. In the end, her innocence simply can’t be determined, primarily as the result of her own actions; it is her carelessness and lack of empathy that condemn her.
I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.
For further reading about the real Amanda Knox subject, check these out: