I Choose Elena By Lucia Osborne Crowley: Review and Summary

I Choose Elena - Lucia Osborne-Crowley - 9781760878078 - Allen & Unwin

I Choose Elena by Lucia Osborne-Crowley: A Must-Read Account of Sexual Assault and Trauma

Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s I Choose Elena is a powerful memoir that chronicles the author’s experience of sexual assault and trauma. In this book, Osborne-Crowley provides a vivid and raw account of her journey to reclaim her body and voice after being raped and subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.

Osborne-Crowley is a journalist, writer, and lawyer based in London. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Washington Post, among others. I Choose Elena is her second book, following her debut novel, I Left Myself Behind.

Main Themes and Ideas

At its core, I Choose Elena is about survival and the struggle to maintain agency in the face of trauma. Osborne-Crowley’s story is not only a personal account of her experiences but also a scathing indictment of a society that routinely fails to support survivors of sexual assault.

The book is divided into three parts, each of which focuses on a different stage of Osborne-Crowley’s journey. In the first part, she describes the assault itself and the subsequent fallout. In the second part, she discusses her attempts to “get better” and reclaim her life. Finally, in the third part, she explores the broader social and cultural context of sexual violence and its aftermath.

A major theme throughout the book is the tension between victimhood and agency. Osborne-Crowley discusses the ways in which survivors are often viewed as passive recipients of violence, robbed of their ability to act and make choices. However, she also emphasizes the importance of self-determination and the power of choice in the healing process.

Critical Evaluation of Writing Style and Effectiveness

Osborne-Crowley’s writing style is direct, unflinching, and deeply personal. She holds nothing back, describing her experiences with brutal honesty and vivid detail. This approach is both powerful and effective, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in Osborne-Crowley’s story and empathize with her struggles.

However, some readers may find the book difficult to read due to its unflinching portrayal of sexual assault and trauma. It is not a light or easy read, and those who are triggered by discussions of sexual violence should approach it with caution.

Overall, though, I Choose Elena is a masterful piece of writing that effectively conveys the complexity and nuance of sexual assault and its aftermath. Osborne-Crowley’s voice is distinct and compelling, and her message of hope and resilience is one that many readers will find inspiring.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the book’s major strengths is Osborne-Crowley’s ability to convey the emotional and psychological impact of sexual assault. She does not shy away from the messy, difficult reality of trauma, and her willingness to confront these issues head-on is one of the things that makes the book so powerful.

Another strength of the book is its scope. Osborne-Crowley situates her personal story within a broader social and cultural context, highlighting the ways in which sexual violence is a systemic issue. This approach is important, as it places responsibility for change on a larger scale, rather than solely on individual survivors.

One potential weakness of the book is its focus on the author’s own experience. While this is certainly understandable given the nature of the topic, some readers may find themselves wanting more information on the broader context of sexual violence or the experiences of others.

Comparison to Other Works in its Genre

I Choose Elena is a unique and powerful contribution to the growing field of literature about sexual assault and trauma. While there are certainly other books on this topic, few are as personal and unflinching as Osborne-Crowley’s.

One book that comes to mind as a potential comparison point is Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Like Osborne-Crowley, Miller is a survivor of sexual assault who has gone on to become an advocate for change. However, while Know My Name is more focused on the legal and institutional aspects of sexual violence, I Choose Elena is more personal and introspective.

Overall Impression and Recommendation

I Choose Elena is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the devastating effects of sexual violence and the ongoing struggle for justice and healing. Osborne-Crowley’s voice is one of strength and resilience, and her willingness to share her story is both brave and important.

While the book is not an easy read, it is ultimately a hopeful one. Osborne-Crowley’s message is clear: rape is not the end of one’s life, and survivors have the power to reclaim their bodies and voices on their own terms.


What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as sexual assault.

What can I do to support survivors of sexual assault?

There are many things you can do to support survivors of sexual assault. Some of the most important include: believing them, providing emotional support, and offering practical help (such as accompanying them to medical appointments or court hearings). You can also educate yourself and others about the realities of sexual violence, and advocate for policy changes that will better support survivors.

What are some resources for survivors of sexual assault?

There are many resources available for survivors of sexual assault. Some of the most well-known include RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the National Sexual Assault Hotline, and your local rape crisis center. It is also important to seek out mental health support from a qualified therapist or counselor.

How can I advocate for change in my community?

There are many ways to advocate for change in your community. Some options include: contacting your elected officials to share your concerns and ask for policy changes, attending rallies or protests to show support for survivors and push for change, and volunteering with organizations that work to prevent sexual violence and support survivors. Additionally, you can use your social media platforms to share information and raise awareness about these issues.

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