Waiting to Be Heard by Amanda Knox
Review by Nicole Romero
I must admit, I was a little on the fence about reading Amanda Knox’s memoir Waiting to Be Heard for a couple of reasons. First off, she is a twenty-something-year-old who has never been published before. Could she really be capable of writing something that can hold my attention for 457 pages? Secondly, I was already biased on my opinion of her conviction in the murder of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. All clues point to her and her boyfriend of one week, Raphael Sollecito, so how could she convince me otherwise? My curiosity to know every single detail of the murder as well as diving into the mind of an accused killer is what eventually convinced me to read the book.
Amanda Knox begins her story by describing her close-knit family and the life she left behind in Seattle. It is written in a very simplistic manner, making it an easy read for most people. She paints a pretty picture of the bond that they shared as a broken, yet supportive family. She goes on to explain that she has always been a responsible older sister, but unfortunately, she was just too young and naïve not to make a few major mistakes. Her family makes their way back into the picture to support Knox throughout her struggles after finding Meredith’s corpse. Their presence is always comforting, even after she has been thrown in jail for murder. Along with many other photos, there are several pictures that include Knox’s family before, during, and after the struggles they faced in Italy.
Aside from her family affair, Knox finally divulges the juicy events that occurred in the days leading up to her roommate’s brutal murder. She gives details about the friendship that she and her roommate, Meredith Kercher, shared. While the jury makes it seem as though the two had had a falling out in the days leading up to Kercher’s death, Knox explains that they were close because they were living lives that paralleled one another in many aspects. She states that “we were both children of middle-class, divorced parents; we pushed ourselves to make this year in Italy happen.” They were both on the search for a romantic relationship with the right boy and Amanda shares stories of their habitual pot smoking antics in the villa they lived in. She makes it very clear that she was no angel, but neither was Meredith.
Understandably, Amanda Knox provides her version of the story in a very defensive manner. She explains that she accused her innocent boss of Meredith’s murder because the police convinced her that she had amnesia and made her believe that she was at the scene of the crime with him. She asserts that she unintentionally misled authorities. An honest mistake, but not very convincing for her case. As she describes the ruthless interrogations that she was forced to undergo with the Italian police, she claims that their tactics were derived from the military to persuade the enemy to say things that are not true. Apparently their strategy worked since in her memoir Amanda claims, “they told me I’d been traumatized and had amnesia. Nothing seemed real. I believed them.” Knox is constantly pleading with her audience to believe that she is not a cold-hearted killer, but a vulnerable young girl accused of murder in a foreign country. It almost sounds like a small child begging, “Please believe me!” The reader is taken on Knox’s journey as she transitions from a young college student into a mature adult who must face the consequences of the charges she has been accused of. When she realizes that life-imprisonment is a possibility, she makes a list of what she should do if convicted: “stop writing letters home, ask family and friends to forget me? suicide?” It is easy to tell that for her, this both a mentally and physically exhausting experience.
Because the book is written in such a lax manner, 457 pages went by really quickly. Knox’s memoir left me questioning my opinion of her guilty verdict. She provided the numerous mistakes that the Italian police made during their investigation, which persuaded the jury to throw out many pieces of evidence. Aside from the faults of the Italian police, I was left wondering if a couple of twenty-year-olds could really be clever enough to outsmart forensic detectives and highly trained officials. Her guilty ruling made the most sense to me, especially after the media portrayed her as a selfish vixen. However, she clarifies her public affection towards Raphael after she discovered Meredith’s body as their way of emotionally comforting one another and not as a confession of their guilt. This seems exceedingly questionable–until the judge acquitted both Knox and Raphael of Meredith’s murder. It’s hard to imagine that a judge would just throw out the case if he weren’t highly persuaded that many mistakes had been made in the process–a fact that Knox is happy to acknowledge. Although Knox is able to go back home to Seattle, she does not receive her happy ending for long. In current news, Knox and Raphael have once again been convicted in Meredith’s murder and must face a retrial. It will be interesting to see what the verdict will be and if she writes another book about this never ending nightmare.