Waiting To Be Heard

I spent the weekend with Amanda Knox. At least, I feel like I did. I read her entire memoir, Waiting To Be Heard, in a day– it was un-put-down-able. (If you’re not up-to-date with the case, here’s a good timeline: The Amanda Knox timeline.

Amanda’s story starts out like a typical “not a girl, not yet a woman” travel adventure. She finishes high school in Seattle, works three jobs to save up some cashola, and decides to spend a year abroad in Perugia, Italy. She wants to learn the language, eat a lotta pizza, get an education, prove her independence to her folks, and you know, “find herself”. It’s so normal-sounding, it hurts to read it knowing that her whole world is about to break apart.

In 2007, Amanda moved into a villa in the middle of Perugia, and it sounds divine: walking distance from uni, sunlit, cute. Then, one night, her British flatmate Meredith Kercher was killed (the circumstances are so awful, I can’t bear to go into it). And almost immediately, Amanda was treated as a suspect – though she didn’t know it at the time. She made two awful mistakes: A) under crazy-awful pressure from the police (she alleges that they hit her, yelled at her in Italian, and coerced her to confess), she wrongfully named her boss, Patrick, as the killer. B) she didn’t lawyer up. If she’d had a lawyer, she’d have known her rights and everything could have been different. If there’s one thing we can learn from Ms Knox, it’s to always lawyer up.

Because here’s the thing: I think Amanda Knox is innocent.

If you can’t make it through the book – it’s long, confronting, and gruesome at times – then please, know this: Amanda Knox is not a murderer. If her memoir is true, police, detectives, journalists, and the victim’s family wanted her to be guilty so badly, they wilfully ignored evidence of her innocence.

Did you know that there’s no DNA evidence whatsoever to link Amanda to the murder? And yet, she was depicted as a sex-crazed, heartless psychopath capable of unthinkable evil. She was called a demon, the devil, a slut. When really, she’s an awkward, introverted, intelligent young woman who was trying to find her way in the world… when her flatmate was killed, and she was sent to jail for four years for a crime she did not commit.

The night of Meredith’s murder, Amanda was at her new boyfriend’s house getting stoned, reading Harry Potter out loud, making dinner, and watching that delightful French film Amelie. She was not, as the Italian polizia would later say, partaking in a sex game that went tragically wrong.

Maybe I want her to be innocent, in the same way so many people want her to be guilty. It could be because I can see elements of myself in Amanda: her naivety, her introversion, her love of Harry Potter, her desire to learn Italian, her split family. But her book has really shaken me. Amanda’s the same age as me, and I’ve done so much since I was 20 years old… but that whole time, she’s been framed for the murder of a dear friend, spent years in a cell in an Italian prison, and battled an Italian justice system bent on taking her life from her. It’s beyond comprehension.

Waiting To Be Heard ($29.99 RRP), published by HarperCollins in Australia, is on sale now. Get it, read it, tell me what you think.I’m trying to make tweeting about books cool – so feel free to tweet me your thoughts @kateileaver.