Saturday, 5 January 2013

Review: Rape Girl By Alina Klein


Rape Girl is a quick read, but it's by no means an easy one. That's pretty obvious from the provocative title. It says it all, really - this book is about a girl who is raped. Then again, it's about so much more than that. It's about the effects of rape on not just the victim but on family, friends and the community. It's about the way society treats those victims and their rapists - all too often blaming the former and forgiving the latter. It's about a screwed up justice system in which few victims feel they can report their rape, and those who do don't always get any actual justice. It's about the fact that when it's one person's word against another, people always doubt, and sadly see the innocent as somehow guilty and the guilty as innocent. It's about life and how sometimes, it really freaking sucks.

Rape is obviously a very sensitive issue and this book could have easily been exploitative, but Klein tackles the subject matter with sensitivity. It's not graphic at all, although it is confronting, as it probably should be. Klein's writing is simple, but it says so much. The characters and situations all feel incredibly real, and their reactions to those situations are authentic. At the beginning, sections are divided between "before" and "after", and it's very effective, contrasting ordinary teen Valerie with the "rape girl" she feels she has now become. I felt for Valerie; her sadness, her frustration and especially her anger were palpable and completely understandable.

My one gripe with Rape Girl is that it's way too short. While the writing is good, the brevity means I never fully connected with the characters or felt immersed in the story. Because it really only had space to deal with the rape and its aftermath, it never really went beyond being an "issue" book. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that - it's certainly an important issue to write about, learn about and talk about. It just means it didn't quite burrow under my skin and into my heart. If there was a bit more to the story I feel like it could have had a greater impact. Nevertheless, it's certainly worth a read.

Rating: 3.5/5

Fine Print
Published: September 2012, Namelos
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.
Get It: Book Depository

16 comments:

  1. I agree that it was a little short but I liked that it was so tightly focused and I still found it incredibly powerful.

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    1. Tightly focused is a good way to describe it :)

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    1. Would love to know what you think.

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  3. I need to read this one. I have been hearing mixed reviews on it, and would like to see for myself.

    Also, I haven't been here in a while because I haven't been blogging much, but I am in love with your background!!!

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    1. Thanks Jillian! NIce to see you again!

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  4. Wow. Belle... just wow. I'm... it seems so trite saying I'm hesitant approaching books about rape, that they can be uncomfortable and confronting, because that's, well, the point, right?

    Your opening 2 paragraphs alone are enough to convince me to read this -- that you're so passionate about what the book's talking about, and it's inciting you to speak that way... (wow, again!).

    It's a shame about the length and that it seemed somehow... lacking? But it does sound... WOW. AMAZING review ♥

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    1. Thank you so much Sarah! I know what you mean, I was curious about this book before reading it, but a bit hesitant at the same time. Because, well, it's not a pleasant topic and it's understandable to not want to subject yourself to it! But as I said in my review it's not graphic at all, and it's dealt with quite gently. It focuses more on the aftermath - so there's more anger and frustration than discomfort, really.
      I'd love to know what you think if you do get a chance to read it.

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    2. "It focuses more on the aftermath - so there's more anger and frustration than discomfort, really."

      I think this is what fascinates me the most. It makes me LIVID when I see rape used as nothing more than a plot device, and then it's glossed over. There is ALWAYS aftermath, and it's how you've explained the books examines it, for the victim, their family and whole community that's intriguing.

      You know, you really have piqued my interest -- I've just downloaded the chapter sample. 'Short' is double edged sword: I like that I can read a book quickly, but won't hesitate to judge it for any length-related failings -__-

      WE SHALL SEE ♥

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    3. Absolutely. Such a serious subject should never be glossed over. I'm really glad you got the sample for this, I'd be very interested to know your thoughts.
      Really, you've made my day. This is why I blog :)

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  5. Well, now I regret not requesting this when it was on Netgalley. I was worried that it might not take the topic seriously enough but it doesn't sound like the case at all, Belle.

    I think there need to be more books like this, we need to keep pushing to make sure that rape never becomes something society brushes aside. Great review.

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    1. The author mentions in the acknowledgements that she was raped as a teenager herself, so it seems to be a very personal story for her, and she definitely treats it with respect.
      I totally agree, one of the issues the book explores is the false assumption many make that the girl is somehow asking for it (which is really brushing aside the crime). Hopefully it enlightens some people!

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  6. I was a bit hesitant about picking this up but your review has convinced me! I think I would like this book despite the shortness of the book. Like always, fantastic review :)

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    1. Thanks so much Lottie Eve! Would love to know what you think of it if you do get to it.

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  7. the title makes me curious to grab the book and read but i don't think i'm gonna need a tissue for this.

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    1. It is definitely an attention-grabbing title. I didn't find it sad so much as infuriating (the subject matter, not the book itself).

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