In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig's investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners
But Serial did not tell the whole story.
My thoughts -
Before I was obsessed with Hamilton, I was obsessed with the podcast trifecta that was Serial, Undisclosed, and Truth and Justice. I listened to all the episodes of each in the span of about 3 months, and feel like I got a cursory legal education in the process. I came away believing in Adnan's innocence, and cheering loudly when he got his new trial early this summer.
I wasn't sure how much new information this book would contain - and if you, like me, listened to all three podcasts, the answer is not much from a case standpoint. The new information in this book comes in the form of Adnan's own words, mixed into each chapter, recalling the events from his perspective, and shedding light on his thought process through this whole journey.
I don't read enough true crime to know, really, how this stacks up to other books in the genre. I just know that, despite feeling like I already know everything there could possibly be to know about this case, I found the book fascinating. Rabia is a wonderful narrator, and the glimpses she gives her reader about growing up Muslim in America, and her own personal journey, added even more depth to this already enthralling story.
If legal thrillers or true crime are your thing, definitely give this one a shot. A truly insightful and disturbing look into the criminal justice system in our country.
Finished - 9/28/16
Source - South side library
MPAA rating - PG-13 for some graphic depictions of crime scenes
My rating - 4/5