Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford

Good Reads Description:

“A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman’s struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her–at any cost

When the elite St. Paul’s School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she’d put behind her the assault she’d suffered at St. Paul’s decades before, when she was fifteen. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note.

Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she’d been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford’s assault and gone to great lengths to bury it.

Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. The slander, innuendo, and lack of adult concern that Crawford had experienced as a student hadn’t been imagined as the effects of trauma, after all: these were the actions of a school that prized its reputation above anything, even a child.

This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America’s elite. Her investigation looks beyond the sprawling playing fields and soaring chapel towers of crucibles of power like St. Paul’s, whose reckoning is still to come. And it runs deep into the channels of shame and guilt, witness and silencing, that dictate who can speak and who is heard in American society.

An insightful, mature, beautifully written memoir, Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor’s story will finally force a remedy?” 

Helen says:  🤓🤓🤓  

There was  a lot of hype surrounding this book.  There was  an article in Vanity Fair about it.  Reader beware: Lots of sex in graphic detail.  I thought this book was well written and well thought out.  It was also incredibly pretentious (just look past that 😜).  The story is reminiscent of the Kavanaugh/ Blasey- Ford saga.  I question how the author remembered all of the details she described from high school.  She must have kept an insane diary!  The bottom line is that she suffered.  I feel for anyone that suffers.  It was a readable book, but easy to put down, too.

Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓  

 I have to admit that this memoir was hard to read – for many reasons – the story itself  being one.  And another one being that I don’t love a memoir – give me fiction any day. I have great compassion for anyone who suffered as Lacy Crawford suffered – it is just hard to read. She must be very strong to be able to relate these very detailed experiences.  She endured so much sexually related trauma, that it is downright painful to think about, and it is difficult for me to envision a place so obsessed with teenage sex.  I did not enjoy the cadence of the writing, and I admit to sometimes not understanding the sentences or relationship between sentences themselves.  Maybe I’m not quite bright enough to understand (?), because Ms. Crawford is obviously very bright.  I struggled with this one, and as it fits the subject matter, there is lots of sexually graphic language and situations. More power to Ms. Crawford for her strength in finally being able to tell her story. Somewhat reminiscent of Dominick Dunne’s A Season in Purgatory.

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