Critique : The Fact of a Body, A. Marzano-Lesnevich – The TL LVA students – Rosa Parks high school, Neuville-sur-Saone

Ceci est une publication publiée par l'équipe des médiations

Projet : Atelier des récits


Marzano-Lesnevich Alex © Greta Rybus

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich was raised in New Jersey, with their three siblings by their parents, both lawyers, in their family house. It is no surprise that they followed their parents’ lead and decided to study law at Harvard. In 2003, they went to Louisiana for a summer internship at a law firm. They were strongly opposed to the death penalty, but their first « case » was challenging in many ways. They were then 25 years old and not prepared to hear Ricky Langley’s confession, convicted for murdering a child. That is the starting point in the writing of their first book The Fact of a Body, a piece of non-fiction about this murder case as well as a memoir that took ten years in the making. The book has been translated in nine languages. In France, L’Empreinte, its title in French, was awarded the Grand Prix des lectrices ELLE and France-Inter. The book got many other prizes worldwide praising their writing and documentary work. Alex Marzano-Lesnevich has written for several American publications including The New York Times. They graduated from Harvard Law school, and also have a bachelor degree in sociology as well as a master degree in documentary writing. They are now teaching creative writing at Bowdoin College in Maine.

Critique : Have your principles ever been challenged ? 

The TL LVA (Langue Vivante Approfondie Anglais) students in Rosa Parks high school in Neuville-sur-Saone are intriguing us by blocking the staircase, what is lying upstairs ?

The Fact of a Body, is a thought-provoking book that alternates in short chapters the story of Ricky Langley, a child molester and the author’s own memories. This story is built on parallels and echoes but also deals with the death penalty ethics. At the beginning of the book, the author Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, wants Ricky to die. Why? You will find every details carefully distilled step by step in the book. The book also encapsulates their desire to understand and learn about the origins of evil that surrounds Ricky Langley’s life and their own. Indeed, the two stories sometimes meet through similar places, relations and one of the major themes ; family secrets. All these mirror-images make us feel the connection between these two lives, these two destinies. How can Alex ever bond with Ricky who is tried for the murder of young Jeremy Guillory? What if the naughty one was first and foremost the victim of his own deeds? A boy who was misunderstood and ignored, becoming the man he feared to be. The Fact of a Body explores human reactions and how decision making work. We recommend this book not only to thriller story lovers but to all readers who are willing to question themselves. If you are sensitive, this book will not be a bundle of joy to read as some scenes are utterly disturbing to the core, but we figured that they are challenging but necessary. Possibly,  Ricky Langley’s case will – like it did for the author themself – make hidden wounds surface up. What we learnt is that this rebounding piece of non-fiction is like no other. The fact is are you ready for it ?



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