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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-11 08:22
Ring: Diverse authors can be spooky fun
Ring - Koji Suzuki,Glynne Walley

The following review will have spoilers, because while a lot of terrible things happen in the beginning of the book, some terrible things happen later in the book which need to be mentioned. The following review has triggers for rape, domestic abuse, suicide, and victim blaming. Here we go.

The only thing that really kept me reading this terrible book was the hope that Asakawa and his friend Ryuji would meet a horrible, painful death. Asakawa and Ryuji are just straight up horrible people and I really can't think of anything positive to say about either of them. Our first introduction to Ryuji comes with a discussion of how many women he's raped. Ryuji practically brags about it to Asakawa. Cementing his status as third most terrible person in this book, Asakawa goes on to say that Ryuji disgusts him, but he still hangs out with him, because there's just something about him. Asakawa proceeds to bring the confessed rapist into his house with his wife and young daughter after his wife has begged him never to bring Ryuji home, which is a totally reasonable request. It gets worse.

 

Asakawa, fully believing that after watching the tape he will die, attempts to off everybody he has a passing acquaintance with. He first shows the tape to Ryuji, which can be somewhat forgiven because Ryuji insisted on watching it. But Asakawa then goes on to offer to show it to his boss and a colleague. It gets worse.

 

I guess at this point the author didn't think there were enough reasons to hate his characters, so he added another one. Our budding serial killer leaves the tape laying around his house, unmarked and his wife and young daughter watch it. No warning about the tape, no note, just leaves it laying out. His response, he calls his wife an idiot
several times and thinks about hitting her for endangering their daughter, never mind that he was the one that left the tape out. It gets worse.

 

Asakawa and Ryuji discover that the tape was created by a woman named Sadako who was killed by Dr. Nagao. Dr. Nagao raped her, killer her, and then dumped her body in a well. Dr. Nagao tells Ryuji and Asakawa that some force compelled him to rape Sadako and then kill her. Way to shift the blame to somebody else. It gets worse.

 

It's revealed that Sadako was intersex and that she was a virgin. Asakawa goes on to misgender her several times (I hate these characters). Asakawa and Ryuji then proceed to theorize that Sadako was unable to have sex with anybody (really hate them) and so fed up with life, she forced Dr. Nagao to rape her so she wouldn't die a virgin and then kill her (these people are the worst). Asakawa then comes to the conclusion that maybe, note the maybe because he's still unsure, she didn't force Dr. Nagao to rape her, but she definitely forced him to kill her. I can't really say it gets worse from here because I think we've reached the peak of this books awfulness, but it certainly doesn't get better.

 

It's revealed in the end that Ryuji has never actually raped anybody and he just told Asakawa that to impress him (I can't even). Moving on, our horrible excuse for a human being, I refuse to use hero to describe this guy, rides off into the sunset to save his family, by showing the tape to his wife's parents.

 

As far as plot goes, I was too focused on the casual attitude to rape, spousal abuse, victim blaming, misgendering, suicide and Asakawa's horror that anybody should die a virgin to focus on it. Did I mention how much I hated Asakawa?

 

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review 2016-03-16 21:24
Painful but important read.
Asking for It: Slut-shaming, Victim-blaming, and How We Can Change America's Rape Culture - Kate Harding

I really wanted to read this book for quite awhile. Rape culture, the culture of entitlement, etc. are not just buzzwords but are part of a great problem of sexual violence. Harder looks at the various aspects of rape culture in society, in the media, by law enforcement, at universities, etc. and examines what it is, how it manifests itself and the often painful consequences.

 

Harding looks at the various myths of rape culture and how powerfully they play in our mindsets. The victim wanted it, the rapist didn't know/made a mistake, the victim is lying, the only people who rape are random creepos and rape is relatively rare, etc. While she poises the rapists as being men and the victims women for the sake of simplicity, the author repeatedly acknowledges throughout the book that men can be victims as well, and that they face a stigma in coming forward (such as say in the military, which makes it difficult for both men and women).

 

It was an infuriating and frustrating read. She goes through cases and cases of rapes. Many of them you've very likely heard of (they were in the news and were often very big stories), and some are much more intimate (such as her own while in college), but nonetheless no matter how "well known" the case is, the book looks at how rape culture plays a role in why many victims never come forward, fear for their lives/reputations/social circles as they aren't believed or even driven out of town, where police/prosecutors don't/won't pursue the case and how many of the accused get very light sentences if they are punished at all.

 

I have to say, while I am no expert nor am I totally ignorant to rape culture, I found this very informative. Painful too, sometimes I just couldn't bear to read about rape after rape after rape. Just today as I was finishing this up I read an article about how Jaycee Dugard (kidnapped, raped repeatedly and held for 18 years) would not be able to sue the state of California for failing to monitor her captor, Phillip Garrido. Apparently the reasoning is because the state had no way of knowing she'd be specifically targeted.

 

As it was also reported he had already been convicted of a rape I just wanted to throw up my hands at yet another failure of the justice system. Harding looks at pro-active-ness and asks whether further rapes could have been prevented if law enforcement had done its job and not blamed the victim. Or in situations where bystanders did not participate in the rape but would actively intervene either.

 

Sometimes I felt the book could get a little too snarky, a little too ranty. Which is not necessarily wrong (I feel like taking a shower after reading all the horrible things in this book) but I'm very sure there are going to be people will find some way to be offended over something in the text. 

 

That said, it made me think about how I behave: I've never been the type to go clubbing or frat parties. I don't drink and don't like being out at night. Part of it is purely due to personality (never a partier, not a night owl) but part of it is because as the book says, some of us constantly think of our safety. Then there is the other side: people accuse me of not wanting to have fun, being unwilling to push my boundaries so I'll never fully "live" etc.. Harding discusses how someone can do everything "right": not be alone, being aware, etc. but in the end that may not be enough. All of that is extremely sad.

 

There's a lot to digest in the book. I think a lot of people who really, REALLY need to read books like this probably won't, unfortunately. People already really familiar with rape culture it might be a little basic for them but as a basic primer it might not be a bad place to start. I got it from the library and that's about right for me. It's not something I'd really want in my apartment any longer than it has to be, but for the right person it could be a good reference or starting point.

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text 2016-01-21 00:14
Victim Blaming Awfulness

 

Today on twitter, a friend pointed out a screencap and a link to Karen Marie Moning’s post about the status of her audiobooks. One of her narrators, Philip Gigante, will be continuing to be the voice of the Fever books in the future. If no one is aware, Phillip Gigante is a popular audiobook narrator for a lot of romance and thriller books. Earlier this week it was reported he was found guilty of accosting a child for immoral purposes and possession of child sexually abusive material.

 

I was actually shocked and saddened, as well beyond disappointed, to see Karen Marie Moning on her Facebook page dismissing people’s concerns over this matter and was standing by him, which is her prerogative. However, what I found really shocking and disappointing was the reactions in the comments. For more background information on this, Bibliodaze has a great write-up on the whole sorry saga.

 

I don’t want to focus on Moning’s stance (although that is part of it) and I don’t want to attack her personally because I understand her reasons in standing by a friend. However, she used her professional page to state she was standing by him. As well as refusing to discuss the issues surrounding him and the wider impact this may have to her readers and fans, who may have been touched or experienced similar situations or abuse. I found this really disheartening and dismissive. It can’t be dismissed or ignored. And what I found even more sadder were the comments victim blaming the girl and implying that she was the reason that caused him to be arrested, leading to his conviction.

 

This is the very reason why so many people refuse to come forward and report their abuse and/or rapes. It’s a terrible message to send out, especially when someone who is experiencing something similar and sees similar comments. What if a young reader today saw this reaction and refuses to come forward in the future when they are faced in a similar situation, because they think they will be blamed instead of the perpetrator?

 

I know this post will probably unpopular to many but I don’t care because this needed to be said and not dismissed, ignored or whitewashed that this never happened. People should be aware if they decide to buy audiobooks it may be narrated by a man convicted with these charges, because I would want to know.

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review 2015-04-24 20:40
You NEED this book in your life
All the Rage - Courtney Summers

***Find this review, and an opportunity to win a copy of the book on The Social Potato

This book is one of the worst books you will ever read and I mean this in the best way possible. This is a HORRFYING READ and one that will shock you and amaze you. This is a read that will make your eyes water if not make you outright bawl about how unfair things can be.

This is my first ever book by Courtney Summers and if this was anything to go by, I know all of her other books will be amazing.

I went into this book expecting my heart to be torn apart and it was. IT WAS SO TORN APART. I was constantly taking breaks to watch a sitcom (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt if you are wondering) to find some comedic relief and to ease the pain I was feeling.

One of the ways in which this book was slightly easier to read was that we are dealing with the aftermath of the rape instead of a before/after kind of situation (although there is a before/after timeline).

Romy is the main character. She is such an amazing character too and I don’t know where to begin describing her. It’s so hard to be inside the mind of someone who is being bullied because she ‘cried rape’ and someone who feels like they would be better of dead. To be in the mind of someone who is filled with so much self-loathing is hard but given the way people reacted to the situation, the way they refused to look at her side of the story, it’s hard to blame her. All you want to do is hug her and tell her it’s going to be okay but how do you expect her to believe that?

What I adore about this book though is that even though everyone is a complete asshole to her, her mom and her mom's boyfriend were there for her. They don’t treat her like crap. They feel her pain and you can feel their helplessness as they try to find a way they can make this right for her. But how do you do that? How do you right something when the most powerful person in town is involved and will prevent you from doing so? It’s heartbreaking but I love that they are there for her in any way they can be.

There is also a beautiful creature named Leon in this book who I love. He is perfect. And I think one of my favorite things about him is that he has no clue what Romy has been through. So his beautifulness(and I am not just referring to physical beauty), and the fact that he is so considerate isn’t because he already knows what Romy is dealing with, it's beacause he is just a kind and considerate person in general and I love that! I love that when Romy tells him to stop, he stops and then the way Romy reacts to that action is beautiful. It’s a little hard to be understanding of the way Romy sometimes treats Leon, and I wish she would give him a chance, but it’s so hard to blame her considering what she goes through on a daily basis. The shit she has to put up with is ridiculous.

This book touches on so many important subjects like bullying, and victim blaming and it handles them beautifully, with the respect they deserve. I keep using the word beautiful when this book is anything but. I just don’t know how else to describe the way, and with the delicateness, in which Courtney treats these issues. She does not play around. We are not thrust into a world where the main character hasn’t told anyone or is hiding from what happened or even has a lot of people supporting her. She is alienated because she dared to tell someone what happened,and people constantly pick on her in the most subtle of ways as a result. But Romy, Romy still keeps her head up and marches through this. She is filled with self-loathing but somehow she still manages to get through this and I love it!

I love this book! I don’t want to say I do because I don’t love what happens but I love how the author has dealt with the issue at hand.

This is a painful book to read, I am not going to lie. It’s going to frustrate you that all of these fucking douchebags REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE HER PAIN and MAKE FUN OF IT. It’s fucking ridiculous that she gets mocked about it but this is what happens in our society. There are not many perfect situations where people are supportive of what happens. It’s disgusting that we live in a society where women are terrified to report cases because of their fear and it hurts but the most wonderful thing about this book is that while it’s completely realistic in it’s portrayal of the situation, it also leaves us with a sense of hope. This is not a book about happily ever afters but this is also not a book that is about the hopelessness of the situation. It  gives us something to hold on to because there will always be hope no matter how bad the situation and it is SO IMPORTANT to remember that.

This is a gorgeously written book that everyone, and I mean everyone, needs in their life. It is so crucial for people to read and for people to understand that these are things that happen. It isn’t some big bad thing you hear about on the news and can forget about a day later, they are real things that happen.

I love this book and I love Courtney for writing it and I just hope that someday, we will live in a world where we don’t constantly sham or victim blame women for the pain they have been through.

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review 2013-11-14 12:05
Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre
Enclave - Ann Aguirre
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE AND VICTIM BLAMING
 
Let me make my rating clear, since this option wasn't available:
 
 
I actually re-read this because the new one came out and I just looked at most of the reviews for this one and thought, "Damn, maybe I was just in a bad mood when I read it."

The re-reading actually made me lower the rating from 2 stars to 1.

The first time I read it I was in the middle of exams, and I wasn't really thinking about what I was reading, it was mostly to get my mind off things for a bit - and it failed even at that, since I only gave it a 2 back then.

But now that I've re-read it... I mean, what. the. fuck.
Seriously what the fuck is this bullshit? A girl is gang raped for years and spends most of her life giving birth to still-born babies only to be raped again and again, and the main character goes on and on about how weak this girl is? How she should have died fighting her rapists?
I mean are you serious with this shit?!
Victim blaming people who've been raped doesn't belong in any book EVER, but it certainly belongs even less in YA!

Then the guy who was the rapists's leader becomes a love interest for the main character...
I JUST CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS LEVEL OF FUCKERY!
 

Ann Aguirre's official site

Not adding a "Buy this book" link because I will have no part in the support of rape culture and victim blaming.

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