Chanel Miller is the name of the victim that convicted rapist Brock Turner raped. For years she was known only as Emily Doe, even after making a huge impact on survivors around the globe when her victim impact letter was shared on Buzzfeed. Now she’s reclaiming her name and her story, and she did an amazing job of it.
I would have called this particular memoir vital and validating even if Miller hadn’t happened to be a good writer, but it turns out that not only is this book powerful, it’s well-written and lyrical, alternating between brutally poetic descriptions of what it’s like to be a survivor, insightful rage about the workings of the “justice” system, and aching hope and care extended to people who have been through what Miller has been through. As hard as this was to read as a survivor myself, I felt so HEARD by this book.
Normally I’d have plenty to write about a book I gave five stars to, but this one is of course hard to talk about. In some ways it’s exactly what you’d expect: it is, after all, a memoir written by a rape victim in an extremely famous and well-known case. So much of the story is about the aspects of the case we already know about. But Miller writes in-depth about what being a survivor was like for her specifically, how trauma changed her and her family, and day-to-day living was like throughout the aftermath and the trial. She writes with such honestly that despite having read plenty of memoirs on this topic, I can say this was the most transparent one I’ve ever read.