Give it all, Amanda III (Amandas way Book 3)

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Tom announces that there will be a gentleman caller: he has asked a nice young man from the warehouse to dinner. Amanda is thrilled, and Tom reveals that the caller will be coming the next day.

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This information agitates Amanda, who is overwhelmed by all the preparations that will need to be made before then. Tom tells her not to make a fuss, but he cannot stem the tide of her excitement. As she leads Tom back inside, Amanda frets about the linen, the silver, new curtains, chintz covers, and a new floor lamp, all the while despairing the lack of time to repaper the walls.

Her first concern is that he not be a drunkard. Tom thinks she is being a bit hasty in assuming that Laura will marry the visitor. Jim is neither ugly nor too good-looking, and he goes to night school to study radio engineering and public speaking and is a proponent of self-improvement. Amanda is pleased by what she hears, particularly about his ambition.

Tom warns her that Jim does not know that he has been invited specifically to meet Laura, stating that he offered Jim only a simple, unqualified invitation to dinner. This news does not matter to Amanda, who is sure that Laura will dazzle Jim.

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Tom asks her not to expect too much of Laura. He reminds Amanda that Laura is crippled, socially odd, and lives in a fantasy world. To outsiders who do not love her as family, Tom insists, Laura must seem peculiar. Tom gets up to leave. Amanda demands to know where he is going. Amanda is troubled, but her excitement quickly returns.

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She calls Laura out onto the landing and tells her to make a wish on the moon. Laura does not know what she should wish for. Amanda, overcome with emotion, tells her to wish for happiness and good fortune.

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For instance, when the police were driving her to the villa, she complained of extreme fatigue and an officer chided her for thinking only of herself. And of course, there was the time she stood up in the police station to stretch her aching back, a stretch that would culminate in the infamous gymnastic stunt. To the reader who has patiently followed my analysis thus far, one set of questions remains: Why did she confess to being at the scene of the crime? And why did she accuse an innocent person of killing Meredith? To many, this is difficult to understand.

A landmark study published in the Stanford Law Review in supports the proposition that innocent people do confess. Not all false confessions are alike. According to scholars, they fit into three categories: 1 voluntary ; 2 coerced-compliant ; and 3 coerced-internalized.

Of course, these categories are ideal types; in practice, they may overlap, as seems to be the case with Amanda. As to the coerced-compliant type, she meets both criteria: succumbing to torment, and promptly retracting the confession following the interrogation. Everything felt bigger, more overwhelming, more suffocating, than it was. Nothing seemed real.

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I believed them [the police]. Their version of reality was taking over. I felt confused, frantic, and there was no escape. For instance, one reason for the greater prevalence of false confessions among teenagers, compared with adults, could be that the former put more weight on the short-term impact of their decisions than on the long-term consequences. In addition, young people are more susceptible than adults to suggestion and pressure from authorities. All of the above characteristics could also be true of emerging adults because, as we have seen, some scholars now believe that brains do not fully mature until at least age twenty-five, and one of the last parts of the brain to develop completely is involved with impulse control and judgment.

I first met Amanda in March By that time, she was twenty-six years old and no longer in the early stages of emerging adulthood.

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Whether through the mere passage of time, with its concomitant brain maturation, or through the traumatic experiences she had endured in Perugia, Amanda had acquired better judgment, including an appropriate level of wariness when dealing with strangers. While this change was, in general, a sign of growth, it certainly made my work harder.

I was, after all, a perfect stranger to Amanda. So it was only after I had traveled to Perugia, spent time with her Italian supporters, corresponded extensively with Madison, and had dinner with Madison in Seattle that Amanda would agree to talk to me. Even then, she was cautious. The following scene shows how much she had matured from the twenty-year-old student who arrived in Italy trusting, blithe, and eager for adventure in the fall of Over one shoulder, I carry a heavy briefcase, over the other, my purse, while I pull my suitcase behind me.

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The bridge is long and bereft of people, so eerily desolate that I am relieved when it ends and I am back on city streets again. A cluster of people waits outside.

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After giving my name to the hostess, I join those who are huddled under the portico; it is crowded but at least it is dry. At precisely , Amanda and Madison arrive. Amanda and I walk toward each other and embrace quickly before following the hostess to a table in the center of the warm, bustling diner. It feels good to be inside, out of the dankness. As I remove my jacket and scarf, I notice that my companions are dressed casually: Madison in a crocheted orchid sweater and black denim pants, and Amanda in a pink knit cap, mauve shirt, and faded jeans.

Their outfits are muted and plain, without prints or accessories. Besides, she has no need to be unobtrusive, nor does she live in Seattle where, as Madison has told me, it is genuineness rather than appearance that matters. To look at Amanda now, I reflect, one would never guess that she was someone whose choice of attire had constantly hurt her in Italy, damaging her reputation and even her legal case. A waitress in a black tank top comes to take our order.

On her left arm she boasts a striking half-sleeve tattoo: an intricate picture of a black-widow spider and its web. Her arrival reminds me that I have not yet looked at the menu, but Amanda and Madison, who have evidently decided what to eat on the way, are ready to order; they request a small bowl of berries and a plate of eggs Benedict, to split between them.

Not wanting to be distracted by eating, I order only coffee and fruit. After the waitress takes our orders and leaves, a silence falls over the table. It makes me anxious, so I rush to fill the void, but my words come out sounding abrupt and awkward:. Amanda becomes visibly distressed. I back off quickly. In fact, I am lucky to have this opportunity at all. But Madison comes to the rescue by suggesting that I tell Amanda about my project. I say that I am interested in how we judge one another, especially when we condemn a person for not showing the proper feelings or the prescribed level of engrossment in a communal event, such as a death.

Madison turns abruptly, causing her long, tousled hair to swing in my direction. She speaks sharply. I promise to include some innocent people, such as convicts who were eventually exonerated, in any book I write about Amanda. Actually, the Central Park Five would be a good comparison, since they also made false confessions. I look at Amanda.

She takes a deep breath. She saw the blood in the room. She spoke Italian. I was going by what people were telling me, and I could not envision it in my own mind.

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Despite her earlier reluctance to be interviewed, Amanda cannot get the words out fast enough. She barely pauses for breath, and I am worried about my ability to commit her words to memory, so I ask if she would mind my taking notes. She agrees, and I push aside my breakfast, retrieve my legal pad from my briefcase, and begin to write.