Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Rape Girl by Alina Klein



Rape Girl

Title:  Rape Girl
Author:  Alina Klein
Publisher:  namelos
Number of Pages:  126

When high schooler Valerie threw a party in her own house, the last thing she expected was to get raped, especially not by the boy she was crushing on. But she does, and everything changes after she reports the crime.

Almost everyone at school begins shunning her, including her best friend, and sides with her attacker Adam. Her entire family is starting to act differently around her. Valerie starts meeting with a support group for rape victims and becomes involved in a court case. Amidst all these events in the aftermath of the rape, Valerie struggles to understand and make peace with what happened.

Rape Girl  was so heartbreaking to read because of how realistic it was. When I think of the word “rape”, I usually picture dark alleyways and men with knives. I really liked how Klein chose to make the actual rape without much violence or invective, showing the readers that rape doesn’t always have to be violent in order to be a crime. More than often, it happens in familiar settings involving people who one knows.

The way other people reacted to Valerie also made me angry and extremely frustrated. Everyone from strangers to best friends, school faculty to the attacker himself, thought that Valerie was lying. Some even accused her of trying to get attention for herself. I literally felt like punching the best friend Mimi the entire time I was reading. It was awful how almost everyone blamed Valerie for what happened and punished her for reporting the rape and standing up for herself. Like one of Valerie’s teacher says “‘...rape is the only crime in which the victim has to prove her innocence’”.

I also loved how honest Valerie’s feelings were in the aftermath of the rape. She feels all kinds of emotions, anger, depression, confusion. For a while, she even blames herself for the rape, thinking that she had not struggled enough or should have fought back harder against her assailant. After hearing a more graphic account of a rape in a support group session, she feels like she was “less raped” than the other girls and wonders if she ruined her life over nothing.

The writing was very straightforward and simple, narrated from the viewpoint of Valerie. The book itself was a very short read; I finished it in about three hours. I wish it had been a little longer though, mostly because the book was so engaging that I didn't want it to end so quickly.

There is a lot to be learned from this novel. Rape is often trivialized as a crime which may account for the low percentage of the incidents that actually get reported. Society's antiquated treatment of victims could be remedied by more awareness about and openness in discussing rape. Rape is not something to whisper about. It is not a taboo. And because of books like Rape Girl, progress can be made.

I give it a 4/5

6 comments:

  1. I doesn't sound like a fun read - but a very, very important subject and I'm glad to hear it being talked about intelligently.

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  2. I had never heard of this but it sounds like a book I would want to read. Great review.

    New follower.

    Ashley
    Booksaremylove.blogspot.com

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