'Omissions and discrepancies' in Amanda Knox's memoir
Letters the American wrote to her lawyers contradict some of the details in her $4m autobiography
MEMOIRS often involve a degree of poetic licence, but the omissions and dramatisations in Amanda Knox's Waiting to be Heard are at times baffling.
The young American from Seattle yesterday broke her silence, speaking out for the first time in a primetime interview with ABC presenter Diane Sawyer. It was timed to coincide with the release of her memoir, for which she reportedly received a $4 million advance.
Knox is finally opening up about what she describes as dehumanizing and harrowing prison experiences and the crippling anxieties she faced in the rollercoaster four years since she was first arrested in connection with the murder of her British room-mate Meredith Kercher.
Now she faces a retrial, a prospect she compares to climbing up a hill through barbed wire. Still, she firmly proclaimed her innocence, telling Sawyer she was a victim of police and judicial error.
In her TV interview, Knox seemed to wobble between moments of heavily-coached poise and genuine anger and emotion. Her memoir, in contrast, often reads like a series of sanitised talking points. Things improve, however, in the introspective passages about relationships and coping with prison life. For example, at one point she reflects on being ridiculed by other inmates for being imprisoned for murder, then pauses in the prison yard to gently pick up the worms stranded by the rain and place them back in the grass.
Knox also recounts being harassed by a prison guard, and fending off sexual advances from a bisexual inmate and a worker who had been allowed into her cell to repair a clogged drain. These allegations warrant further investigation by authorities. But when it comes to the hard facts of the case, there are a number of discrepancies that contradict existing records.
The inconsistencies in her book are most clear when passages of Waiting to be Heard are compared with two letters she wrote to her lawyers on 9 November, 2007. In the letters, Knox says that on the day Kercher's body was discovered she looked through the keyhole of the British student's locked door and saw her purse on the bed. In her memoir, Knox says she tried to look through the keyhole, but saw nothing.
The memoir largely glosses over the day of Kercher's murder and its immediate aftermath. In a letter to her lawyers, Knox says the police gave her time to write a statement, while in her memoir she says they rushed her. The letters say she was "checked out by medics", an incident that becomes "the most dehumanizing degrading experience I had ever been through" in her memoir.
In one very detailed scene recalled in Chapter 20, a key player is omitted completely. Describing an interview with police in Capanne prison in December 2007 she says it was attended by the prosecutor, her interpreter, two police and her two attorneys. But there was another person there – a third attorney named Giancarlo Costa. He was the first lawyer to represent her, but later left the case. Costa has confirmed he was present at the interview and his name is read out in the audio recording of the interrogation. Why would Knox remember so many details but leave him out?
Fine points such as these can make or break a case in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion, perhaps they don't matter. The question is, will Knox's memoir (and another book about the case by her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito) become relevant as evidence when the retrial begins? Knox desperately wants closure, as do the members of the Kercher family. Now that Knox and Sollecito's personal perspectives have been heard, it is time for the courts to clarify what really happened to Meredith Kercher.