I have been waiting for the release of Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial since it was announced months ago. I came to the first season of Serial late in the game. I started listening just in time for the release of the last episode. I came to Undisclosed well after it was popular as well. I have listened loyally since. I listened to all the PCR hearing updates. I listened when the conviction was overturned. I have even read a little bit of the sub-Reddit for Undisclosed. While listening to all of this I remembered how much I love true crime stories.
I listened to the audiobook for Adnan’s Story. Chaudry is the audiobook reader. Listening to it was like listening to a 13 hour podcast. I am use to hearing her voice tell me Adnan’s story. Don’t worry, this is not a mere re-telling of what listeners have already heard. It is far more. We learn about Adnan and Hae’s lives before this happened. We learn more about what it is like to be a Muslim American and how it was used to convict Adnan. We learn about Rabia’s life and how she went from the child of a family friend to Adnan’s biggest advocate. There are a few revelations about the case. I am sure these revelations are things that die-hard fans may have already read somewhere, but I had not heard them before. No, I won’t spoil it for you.
I am often surprised at how popular Adnan’s story is. It resonates with so many people. I feel it has to do with our perception of justice. Television has convinced us that it reflects how the justice system really works. The cops may make mistakes, but they mean well and correct them when realized. The same for prosecutors. They may play games, but only when a guilty defendant is also playing games. What Adnan’s case forces us to realize is that this is not the case. We don’t talk about innocent people who take a plea because they can’t win this case. We don’t talk about the games attorneys play for petty reasons. We don’t talk about confirmation bias and how it clouds an investigation. We don’t talk about any of the dark side. This has finally allowed us the chance to look at our justice system and they way it is stacked against the innocently accused and convicted. It scares us, but enthralls us as we watch it play out for someone else.
What Chaudry also does is forces the reader to face and process the anti-Muslim sentiment that fueled this case. It was easy to ignore because there was no vocal outrage about this from Muslim-American leaders. There was one big reason for that and Chaudry addresses it: it was her. I won’t get into it, but I realized podcast fans mostly ignored this element of the case for many reasons. One, Serial did not mention it often because it’s loaded and could easily have turned people away. Two, the previously mentioned missing outrage. Three, there was so much more that needed to be addressed about the case. The anti-Muslim elements of this case are (oddly) the least of it’s problems. Waiting for this book was actually a good time to mention and flesh it out a bit.
Has anyone else read the book yet? Tell me your thoughts about it, Serial, or Undisclosed in the comments bellow!