Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry, a Review & Reflection

Honestly, this book is better suited for those who have not listened to the podcasts Serial and Undisclosed in their entirety. The amount of new information that Chaudry brings to light about Adnan’s case directly can be summarized at a length no longer than a grocery list. (A short grocery list. Think “milk and eggs”.) Also, beware, potential spoilers.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this book per se, it was just, well, disappointing. Let me detail my disappointments for you.

  1. The title. Adnan’s Story. In my opinion, the subtitle is much better, and perhaps more accurate than the main title: The Search for Truth and Justice after Serial. While the first two chapters ended with many pages clearly written by Adnan himself, the rest of the book reflected Chaudry’s own story and her involvement in the case herself. The book truly was about the journey behind the scenes, and the many players involved in uncovering the details of Adnan’s case that were not in fact truthful. However, as stated, MOST of this discoveries are discussed at length in both Serial and Undisclosed.
  2. The whole of the book was compiled in a rather disorganized matter. Each chapter was filled with both legal jargon, photos of case documents, and personal narrative from Chaudry, which would have been fine if it had been more linear and concise, in my opinion.
  3. Chaudry’s bias. Of course, I understand that this is a narrative written by someone who is personally and professionally invested in both Adnan and the case as a whole, and I am familiar with Chaudry’s personality and characteristic proclivity for being firm in her assertions (via Twitter and her blog), but at times her insistence came across as much too personal in Adnan’s defense. Hey, maybe that’s just me, and I’m willing to admit that.
  4. THE END. I wanted SO BADLY for Chaudry to name specifically who she suspects of killing Hae. Could you please at least give your reader that satisfaction, Rabia, after bringing us through 401 pages of other outspoken opinions and narrative?! At most she strongly alludes, but never directly names her suspect. (Though masculine pronouns throughout don’t help in keeping your suspicions that quiet.)

Now, I wasn’t 100% disappointed, though, and perhaps my hopes were set too high initially. I did appreciate the light Chaudry shed on the way that Islam, and Adnan as a practicing Muslim, were misconstrued throughout his case, and the evidence brought out that this religious bias was used against him in court. I also was surprised at her candor in revealing her relationship with Sarah Koenig and her portrayal of both Adnan and the case as a whole in Serial. I won’t spoil much more, I promise.

And to be fair, I can understand that this case is still very active, and to reveal details in a book that would potentially affect the outcome of Adnan’s new court proceedings would be extremely foolish.

Overall, though, did I really spend $20 (thank you Barnes & Noble Member discount) and many hours reading 401 pages to satisfy a mere curiosity? Yes. I did.

Because honestly, for someone like me, that’s all it is. I have been thinking so much while reading this book how I will never meet these people, this case will never directly affect my life, and I know little to nothing about law or the practice of it. Serial and later Undisclosed gave millions and millions of listeners, like me, the opportunity to satisfy our natural inclination of curiosity. It’s all very voyeuristic, really, how invested I’ve gotten in this case and the life of a man I’ll never meet.

It’s a curious thing.

Find the book to purchase here, and its Goodreads page here.

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