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“‘Why can’t she get over it?’ ‘Why can’t she just move on?’ Karen Stefano will make you understand exactly why. In this taut, riveting memoir, Stefano brings you into the life of a woman in the wake of a violent assault. Tortured by what-ifs and the terrifying awareness of her own vulnerability, Stefano becomes obsessed with knowing all she can about the compounding forces that create her ‘habit of fear.’ Arresting, compelling, her journey culminates in an unexpected grace that strangely blooms out of that awful assault. This story is necessary and unforgettable―and arrives at just the right time.” —Samantha Dunn, author of Not By Accident
On a summer night in 1984, nineteen-year-old UC Berkeley sophomore Karen Thomas leaves her uniformed patrol job and walks home alone in darkness. At the threshold of her apartment a man assaults her at knife point. After a soul-chilling struggle, she manages to escape.
Though she is left traumatized by her assault and the subsequent trial of her attacker, she herself goes on to become a criminal defense lawyer, defending those accused of crimes as heinous as the one committed against her.
Fast forward to 2014, thirty years after her assault, when her life, once again, appears to be crumbling. As she stumbles her way through the days navigating a dying marriage, devastating financial loss, and an elderly mother slipping into dementia, she becomes fascinated by her own anxiety and PTSD. Why does the body remember what the mind tries so desperately to forget? Her questions prompt a delayed obsession with her assailant: What became of him? What is he doing now? She begins a quest of excavation, determined to track him down.
What she discovers is life altering.
What A Body Remembers is an honest, from-the-gut account of one woman’s journey to regain her power and confidence―a journey that continues to this day.