Karen Belz digs into Raffaele Sollecito’s case memoir

The crime
Twenty-one-year-old Meredith Kercher was murdered in 2007, and the crime was quickly pinned on Kercher’s roommate, Amanda Knox, and Knox’s boyfriend of just days, Raffaele Sollecito.

The story
Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox” target=”_blank”>Honor Bound: My Journey To Hell And Back With Amanda Knox is Sollecito’s account of the story, in his own words. Roughly a decade after the murder, which he was unjustly imprisoned for, he’s giving his perspective on how it all went down.

If you paid close attention to the trial, you probably know just a little bit about Sollecito. For one, he was painted as a romantic, who was almost obsessed with his spunky American girlfriend. And his writing doesn’t deny this.

Throughout the introduction of Honor Bound, Sollecito reminds the readers of his “role” as Knox’s boyfriend. Footage of the two kissing and buying underwear shortly after Kercher’s body was uncovered made headlines. Sollecito is quick to address the fact that anything Knox did at that time was seen under a suspicious lens. That said, Sollecito almost comes off as a bit annoyed that Knox received all of the tabloid attention.

Even though Amanda and I shared the same unjust fate, the case was always about her. Amanda, Amanda, Amanda: to this day, nobody in Italy can utter that name without thinking reflexively about that American. (Preface)

Using a flowery writing style which reads more like a fictional tale than a memoir regarding a high-profile murder trial, Sollecito claims that he stood by Knox the entire time, fully aware that he was “throwing his whole life away.” In his eyes, Knox would have been behind bars for the rest of her life without him.

Nevertheless, Sollecito isn’t afraid to throw Knox under the bus a few times throughout his story, perhaps based on his own pride. Sollecito admits that the relationship wasn’t serious — after all, Knox had very recently broken up with a longterm boyfriend back home, whom she still had contact with during her time in Perugia. It’s apparent, however, that he wished Knox felt as strongly about him as he did her.

While Sollecito notes that they were both innocent, and maps out the full alibi flawlessly, he also concedes that a lot of Knox’s reactions were borderline childish, and likely led to a few raised eyebrows during the investigations. While these observations are probably true, along with all of Sollecito’s other memories of the case, it’s hard not to feel as if Sollecito is boasting a bit to feel a little superior. Since he spent a lot of time in prison for the murder of an individual he barely knew, perhaps that’s only fair.

BBC NewsNight

Superiority aside, it’s tough to deny that Sollecito has one of the strongest books regarding the trial and the individuals involved. While English isn’t his first language — in fact, he admits he was a little rusty when trying to communicate with Knox back in 2007 — his sentences are filled with a strange sense of whimsy that make you feel as if he might have been a bystander to his own story. And since that story has taken on a life of its own throughout the last decade, it’s not a red flag. It’s more a reminder that he’s probably recounted the details so many times that it’s become more of an old tale than a real-life event to him.

That writing style also helps make the book a pretty quick read, especially for those who are already familiar with the “main characters” of the murder. Sollecito stands by the belief that Rudy Guede was the one responsible for killing Kercher, and believes Guede acted alone. As for Sollecito? In his eyes, his main offense was using drugs that made his memory hazy.

Now I knew I should have been smarter. I smoked no more than three joints with Amanda in the few days before the murder, but that was three joints too many. (Chapter 2)

As he’s quite the skilled writer, one can only hope that the book was therapeutic, and gave him a little bit of peace. Writing it all down may have helped with the trauma he suffered due to the trial and incarceration.

It seems like Sollecito is on a mission to save his reputation. But Honor Bound paints him in a light that’s not too far off from the character we were initially introduced to — a passionate guy who happened to be at the wrong place with the wrong people.

Karen Belz is a writer from Pennsylvania, born and raised in New Jersey. You can find her work on Previously.TV, HelloGiggles, and Bustle.

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