With her big book coming out next week along with a big TV interview by Diane Sawyer, Amanda Knox–the Seattle college student convicted of murder in Italy, cleared by one appeals court but just ordered to face a review by another–will be back in the news again. But in Seattle, she may be just a big yawn.
Following four years in an Italian prison, Knox returned to her native Seattle upon winning her first appeal in 2011 just a few months after I became New To Seattle. Since then, however, I hardly ever have heard her name mentioned during casual conversations in Seattle, where the 25-year-old has resumed her studies at the University of Washington. I know from old media accounts that her cause crucially received a lot of important Seattle support. But although still functioning, the Friends of Amanda Knox website hasn’t been updated since her release. Locals now are more likely to return to chattering about coffee, salmon, the weather or the possible return of an NBA franchise.
I think the feeling in Seattle is she’s been through enough, so leave her alone. In a city known for the Seattle Freeze, that’s sort of the norm, anyway.
From time to time, I get asked about Knox by my friends and acquaintances–living thousands of miles from Seattle. As I see it, interest in Knox grows the farther one gets from Seattle–Barbara Walters listed her as one of the 10 most fascinating people of 2011–but Walters works out of New York City. The inverse relationship between distance and interest is especially demonstrated in England, where the narrative in the jingoistic press there seems to be she got away with killing British college student Meredith Kircher, who also was studying in Perugia, Italy.
I personally have no idea whatsoever whether Knox is guilty or innocent. I haven’t read any of the many previous books about the case, nor seen any of the movies or documentaries. Early reviews of her first-person account, Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir, suggest Knox, now 25, ably argues her side, which seemed to turn on a lot of obscure circumstantial evidence. She reportedly got a hefty $4 million advance from HarperCollins, money that I imagine helped pay off what had to be huge accumulated bills for her defense.
The HarperCollins press release announcing the book deal promised “a full and unflinching account of the events.” Maybe. This is sheer speculation by me, but I have to think that her legal team carefully vetted her original manuscript to remove anything that prosecutors in Italy might be able to use against her in a retrial or other future proceedings. I might suspect that was one reason the publication date was pushed back two months to April 30. (In the United Kingdom–home of the murdered student–publication was delayed indefinitely, due to what was described as problems with England’s strict libel laws.)
To me, comparing the original manuscript to see what was changed or deleted from the published version could be very illuminating. But I rather doubt anyone on the outside will get that opportunity. My guess is that the papers are in some lawyer’s safe marked as non-releasable attorney-client material, or shredded and sent, in the grand tradition of Seattle’s green persona, to a trash recycling center. Either way, part of the big yawn.