Critically acclaimed memoirist Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice, takes an unflinching look at what happens to a small town when some of its residents commit a terrible crime. This honest, authentic debut novel—inspired by the events in the Steubenville rape case—will resonate with readers who've ever walked that razor-thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.
The party at John Doone's last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills's shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn't have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate's classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can't be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw?
I had a lot of thoughts and feelings about this book. For one, it's really awesome! It deals with a pretty heavy topic, and I think it does a good job of this. Most of my review is my discussion of things that came up in the book, but it does have some more of my regular review stuff in it!
This is a hard topic to deal with. And there's several facts. That just because she partied enough to pass out, did not mean that she was inviting them to do what they were did to her. It doesn't mean she was asking for it. It just means that they took advantage of a situation-of her. Which is their choice, and the only good that comes out of it, is that their lives are ruined. They could've, should've, done the right thing and not even have that idea pop into their heads.
Also, just because they've been "examples of fine sportsmanship" and "members of the most winning basketball team in recent history" doesn't mean squat. Being an athlete doesn't automatically mean that someone's a good person, it just means that they've got athletic skills. So while innocent until proven guilty, yeah, but that didn't need to be expanded. Just makes people think that that victim ruined their lives, when it was the other way around. Gah!
Another point (that drives from the article that was chapter 13, as well as the previous paragraph) is that just because she dressed provocatively, because she drank, because she wanted to be there, that does not mean that she deserved it! That just meant that she wanted to be looked at, wanted to have fun. What she went through was not fun. If she had known that it was coming, then she wouldn't have wanted to be there! Really, the way some people think is just maddeningly frustrating!
A quote, that is basically everything wrong with the situation-and spoke by the principal. "The facts? The facts are that these guys come from good families. There parents are good people, friends of mine. Their homes are stable. They are pillars of this community. All of that has been called into question by a young woman who has little supervision, and by most accounts has made some very questionable moral judgements." None of that matters. None of it. It isn't an either/or situation. One doesn't have bearing on the other. And it's basically everything possibly wrong to say about the situation. Yeah, sure, they're "pillars of the community" but that doesn't mean that didn't possibly rape the victim. I don't get why people say things like that. Sure, the perps might have some good qualities, and the victim some bad, but people have both good and bad within them. Just because they have those qualities, does not mean that this should be the result. It doesn't.
Jeez, these situations just make me frustrated, with victim blaming and the prep getting off lightly, and having people worried about their future instead of the victim's. I mean, come on, if this is the kind of thing that comes about from them, do they really deserve that bright future? Think about it! It's just, that it's hard to find words that don't convey what I want to say. Especially with situations like this!
Another quote stuck with me. "He acts like like he has some natural right to tell them they should look a certain way. Why? Because he's a dude?" It shouldn't be like that. There are people behind the pictures, and with this electronic age, it seems like people forget that more readily. And it sucks.
Kate's friend, Rachel, brings up a point, though from the opposite view, that there's rules, rules that the victim broke, and that's why this happened to her. Well, the rules are crap. Who decided them? Any group I can think of that would create these rules, they shouldn't have been. Society needs to change them, we need this change, because people shouldn't think this way!
One good quote of this book, is "'Not as kind as the others, perhaps, but at least not harmful.' just walk away. ...'Words have meanings. When we call something a theory in science, it means something. Reggie, when you say that you "can't help yourself" if a girl is wasted, that means something too. You're saying that our natural state as men is "rapist."'" Agreed. Someone could do any of the good things listed like get her water or a ride home, or walk away. But rape? Yeah, no.
This book contains, and should bring bring discussions about this topic. And that's a good thing-get it into the light, then maybe it'll be more rare to maybe not happening, or if it is happening, knowing the right response. We're human and we make mistakes (talking about the outsiders in the situation, not the preps) but we can learn from the good and the bad decisions made in this book to be able to respond appropriately to the situation.
Oh, Ben, that was absolutely the wrong decision to make. It's a banality of evil situation, if people see evil, and do nothing, that makes them just as bad, and Ben just ignored it, lied about it, so that he could get out of town. And that really sucks for everyone!
Yeah. I had a lot to say about this situation. But I think this book portrayed this situation well, and hopefully we can learn from it!
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Read: October 1st, 2015
Reason Why: Sounded really good, and it's a DAC Book, SAC 2015 Book and a WoW Book!
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: September 22nd 2015