Book offers jailhouse chats with murderer

ROME - Amanda Knox, the American student convicted in Italy of murdering her British roommate, is quoted as saying in a new book that she'd rather not be famous for the slaying and that her days in jail feel like "limbo" between her old life and her hopes for the future.

Knox talks about her aspirations to marry and adopt children and her interests in writing and studying languages. She held a series of jailhouse conversations with an Italian lawmaker who visited her over the past year; the conversations serve as the basis for the book.

The 23-year-old Knox was convicted in December of murder and sexual assault in the 2007 death of her housemate, British student Meredith Kercher. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison by a court in Perugia, central Italy.

Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of Italy was convicted alongside Knox and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen, was convicted in a separate, earlier trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison – which was cut to 16 years on appeal.

All three have maintained their innocence.

The book “Take Me With You – Talks with Amanda Knox in Prison” by lawmaker Rocco Girlanda comes out Tuesday, about a month before Knox’s appeal begins Nov. 24. A lawyer for the Kercher family called it “inappropriate” and unnecessary.

“We certainly don’t feel there was a need for this book,” Kercher family attorney Francesco Maresca said.

The book is one of many on a case that has fascinated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. But unlike the others, it does not discuss Kercher’s murder.

Knox is quoted as mentioning Kercher’s name only once – to say on the day of the discovery of “Meredith’s case” she was supposed to go on a trip to a nearby town with Sollecito.

Instead, the book focuses on Knox’s personality, her childhood in Seattle, her hopes for post-prison life. The conversations range from mundane topics – movies and bike riding – to wider subjects including literature and religion. They even touch on the possibility of alien life in the universe.

The book is being published in Italian and as an ebook in English by Piemme, a publishing house within the Mondadori media empire. The Associated Press was given an advance copy exclusively among international media.

Knox says she would like to get married but “must also find the person,” and would adopt children rather than giving birth because “there are a lot of kids in this world who have no one.”

She speaks of the letters she received in jail, including marriage proposals.

“Everybody tells me, ‘You’re famous.’ And I answer, ‘I’m not Angelina Jolie!’ ” she is quoted as saying. “How ugly to be famous for this. I would have preferred to be (famous) for something I built, I achieved.”

At another point, Knox says “being in here is like being in a limbo.”

“You live a little bit between the memory of life the way it was before, your hopes for tomorrow – and trying as hard as you can not to feel like you’re in here,” she says.

Girlanda says he kept diaries of the some 20 Italianlanguage conversations he has had with Knox since her conviction. Girlanda, who heads a foundation that promotes ties between Italy and the United States, said he started meeting with Knox in a bid to help offset the diplomatic fallout the explosive case had created.

The lawmaker said he was curious to know the person behind the public persona, and never talked to Knox’s parents, friends or lawyers.

“I wanted to know Amanda, I wasn’t interested in Amanda Knox,” Girlanda told the AP.