In a medieval college town in Italy, two young women, Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, arrived for a year abroad, seeking new horizons.
Six weeks later, Kercher returned home in a coffin and Knox became a global obsession.
Knox was convicted of murdering Kercher, her British roommate. She spent four years in Italian courts and prison before the conviction was overturned and she came back home to Seattle.
Here is an excerpt from the book.
Chapter 1 April–August 2007 Seattle, USA
Mom sat next to me in our favorite tall-back booth. Dad slid in across from us. "What's this about?" he asked. I couldn't believe the three of us were actually doing this.
Eating salads with my parents doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was for me. I'm sure that for them it was hugely uncomfortable. I was nineteen, and as far back as I could remember I'd never seen my parents sit at the same table, much less share a meal. I was a year old and my mom was pregnant with my sister Deanna when she and my dad split up. They had rarely talked to each other since, even on the phone. Proof of how much they both loved me was this reunion at the Eats Market Café in West Seattle. Mom picked at her fingernails. Dad was businesslike. All smiles were for me.
The biggest testament to my parents' love for Deanna and me was how they'd handled their divorce. They bought houses two blocks apart to give us the benefits of a two-parent family and the gift of never feeling pulled between them. I never once heard either criticize the other. But they were invisible to each other, whether separated by two blocks or two rows at a school play. At soccer games, both cheered on the sidelines buffered by a line of other parents.
The permanent divide meant that when I had news to tell I always had to do it twice. Bringing my parents together this one time was my way of saying: this is the most important decision of my life so far. It was a drumroll to let them know that I was ready to be on my own.
As always, I had gone to my mom first. She's a free spirit who believes we should go where our passions lead us. When I told her mine were leading me 5,599 miles away from home, to Perugia, Italy, for my junior year of college, her unsurprising response was "Go for it!"
Mom was born in Germany and moved to Seattle as a child, and my grandmother, Oma, often spoke German to Deanna and me when we were growing up. It wasn't until my freshman year in college that I realized I had a knack for languages and started playing around with the idea of becoming a translator. Or, if only, a writer. When it came time to decide where to spend my junior year, I thought hard about Germany. But ultimately I decided to find a language and a country of my own -- one my family hadn't already claimed. I was sure that would help me become my grown-up self -- whoever that was.