19 September 2019
Cover design © House of Thought
A beautiful, searing essay about trauma, recovery and literature
Aged 15 and on track to be an Olympic gymnast, Lucia Osborne-Crowley was violently raped on a night out, sparking a series of events that left her devastatingly ill for more than ten years of her life. Her path to healing began a decade later, when she told someone about her rape for the very first time. Eventually finding solace in writers like Elena Ferrante, this is a work about rediscovering vulnerability and resilience in the face of formerly unbearable trauma.
The author explores what has been proved, but is not yet widely known, about trauma, bringing to our attention its cyclical, intergenerational nature; how trauma intersects with deeply-held beliefs about the credibility of women; and how trauma is played out again and again in the fabric of our cultures, governments, judicial systems, and relationships. Eloquent, defiant and honest, I Choose Elena is the story of how a young woman reclaimed her body.
‘Thank-you Lucia Osborne-Crowley for writing I Choose Elena, for your bold and precise testimony on the devastation of sexual violence, on the body’s extraordinary and destructive compulsion to contain its own trauma. Every one of the insights you share is extremely hard-won, and I am so grateful to you for putting them into this incredible book.’ Rosie Price, author of What Red Was
‘Startlingly intelligent, disturbing, profound and moving, I Choose Elena shows us that the #MeToo movement has grown roots, and that for survivors of rape and sexual assault, the revolution is just beginning. Osborne-Crowley gives us darkness wrought in light and the hope she offers is as palpable as it is hard-won.’ April Ayers Lawson, author of Virgin and Other Stories
‘This book burrowed deep under my skin. A searing, potent testament to the vital necessity of articulation in the struggle for women to own their bodies and find a language to talk about violence and trauma.’ Jessica Andrews, author of Saltwater
‘A fierce, eloquent meditation on trauma, #MeToo, the body, pain and memory.’ Sinead Gleeson, author of Constellations
‘Beautiful and sad and moving and too real in the finest way.’ Una Mullally