Notes on a Silencing (Hardcover)

A Memoir

By Lacy Crawford

Little, Brown and Company, 9780316491556, 400pp.

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her--at any cost

When the elite St. Paul's School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered at St. Paul's decades before, when she was fifteen. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note.

Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she'd been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford's assault and gone to great lengths to bury it.

Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. The slander, innuendo, and lack of adult concern that Crawford had experienced as a student hadn't been imagined as the effects of trauma, after all: these were the actions of a school that prized its reputation above anything, even a child.

This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America's elite. Her investigation looks beyond the sprawling playing fields and soaring chapel towers of crucibles of power like St. Paul's, whose reckoning is still to come. And it runs deep into the channels of shame and guilt, witness and silencing, that dictate who can speak and who is heard in American society.

An insightful, mature, beautifully written memoir, Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor's story will finally force a remedy?

About the Author

Lacy Crawford is the author of the novel Early Decision. She lives in Southern California with her family.

Praise For Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir

"So beautiful it hurts to read... Assaulted by schoolmates, and then betrayed and silenced by her school and mine, Lacy Crawford has found courage to turn pain into searing voice in this beautiful memoir... For St. Paul's School, Notes on a Silencing could begin Truth and Reconciliation, or a chance to be delivered, as the school prayers ask: 'From the cowardice that dare not face new truths, from the lazy contentment with half-truths, and from the arrogance of thinking we know all truths.'"—Lorene Cary, author of Black Ice and If Sons, Then Heirs

"A riveting story of and for our time."—Emily Temple, Lit Hub Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Praise for Lacy Crawford's Early Decision

Gossip Girl
, part Dead Poets Society, and entirely addictive! A
brilliant, satirical peek at the families of privilege behind the Ivy Curtain,
this book made me laugh out loud."—Kevin Kwan, New York Times bestselling author of the Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy

"Overbearing moms and dads scheming to secure their kid a place at Harvard will find it more helpful than any nonfiction book on the market... Everyone else can enjoy Early Decision for what it is: a sweetly sharp modern-day comedy of manners about the brutally competitive college-admissions ordeal."—Entertainment Weekly

"Here's an engrossing novel that no parent of college-bound teens will
be able to resist...Crawford nails the anxiety of a selection process
gone crazy and counsels parents to do the hardest thing of all: back

"By focusing on the essay-writing process, Crawford explores how we find
our own stories---and suggests that a successful campaign depends on
revision."—Chicago Tribune (Editors' Choice Book)

"At times hilarious, at times soul-crushingly sad, and unfailingly
astute and well-written, Early Decision will leave you super-satisfied."—Redbook (Book of the Month)