Book Review | Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

Monday, May 2, 2022

Summary: 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.

In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence — among many other points — and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists.

Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thoughts: I listened to the Serial podcast about Adnan a few years back when it came out. That podcast made me have so many questions about the trial of Adnan and I wanted to know more. It’s taken me forever to finally get to this book, but holy crap. The absurdity of Adnan’s trial astounds me. And, I am convinced he is innocent. I still need to watch the HBO documentary. I am just shocked that he is still in prison.

The book was very well written. There were some parts that I skimmed over because it was really “Rabia’s Story” and not about Adnan, which is really why I got this 4 starts instead of 5. Some of the parts about Rabia’s life weren’t relevant to Adnan’s Story, and being how the title of this book is literally “Adnan’s Story,” I didn’t feel like they really needed to be in the book.

I also think that Rabia is a bit biased in her writing. Obviously she is, because she is very close to Adnan and 100% believes he is innocent. So, the book is pointing out all the ways that the State messed up at trial, how Adnan was framed, etc. But, it also answers a lot of questions I had from listening to Serial. You also get to learn about how terrible Adnan’s first lawyer was and all the ways the system failed him through his trial and after. I did like learning about all that happened between his conviction and when Serial happened.

If you are interested in the Adnan case at all, I highly recommend reading this book. Just remember that it is biased and is trying to prove Adnan’s innocence.

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