Monday, December 7, 2015

All the Rage. Seriously.

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: April 14th, 2015!

From Goodreads...
is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?


My Review!
I hope it’s not a girl
I hope it’s not a girl

I hope it’s
n o t
a
.
.
girl

Back in October: I finished this book at 3 a.m. after almost 5 hours of intensity and rage, went to sleep, and still woke up so full of anger that I’m not even sure where to start with this. I loved this book, okay, but I am just so fucking angry at the world right now. I’m angry at this book. I’m angry at the characters inside of it and want to destroy every single one of them except the people who actually get it. I’m angry that rape culture is so prevalent in our world. That a girl’s tale of sexual assault is not given as much attention as a boy’s life being ruined with rape accusations. That people actually say that they asked for it. That because of the way they dressed, the way they flirted, and the way they looked actually gave someone else the right to violate their body.

How is this, SERIOUSLY HOW IS THIS A VALID ARGUMENT? HOW. I don’t understand it. I don’t get how people can be this awful and clueless and insensitive and misogynistic. We teach our girls to be nice. To be soft. To be weak. We teach them that they’re at fault for everything. THAT is what we teach our young women. That is what is taught in school, by society, by other peers, even by PARENTS. But what we don’t do is teach our boys how to empathize. We don’t teach them about consent. We don’t teach them to respect women. We don’t say that it is THEY who are at fault if a girl wears a short skirt or flirts with them, and they don’t understand that that does not mean a woman has consented to have sex. A girl sleeps around, and she’s a slut. A whore, a bitch if she doesn’t open her legs up for all the men who “ask” for it. And a girl who doesn’t do anything is a prude. Because we can’t win either way, no matter what we do.

But it isn’t just boys tearing girls down. It’s girls tearing girls down. It’s this attitude that women can’t be each other’s allies, but that they are enemies and competition. In this book, All the Rage, it isn’t just the men who are powerful. It’s the other girls who are popular in school who also have sway. And it HURT reading about them choosing the side of a male who doesn’t deserve it. It hurt seeing how they taunted and teased and made the main character’s life miserable because they didn’t believe her. She was just crying rape, right, like the boy who cried wolf? She wasn’t actually raped. And it certainly couldn’t have been done by a guy from one of the most respected families in the community. Because, no, she had to have been asking for it. She didn’t actually say NO.

Victim blaming is one of the worst things that we can do as human beings. Not validating everyone’s experiences, and not believing in them, only does harm. And it only continues to tell victims of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, etc. that no one is going to believe them. That if they do speak up, they will be shamed, teased, and nothing will be done to the one who violated them. Who stole so much more than their sense of safety. Who took away something that they can never get back. Who told them that their body was not just theirs, that anyone had a right to it, because that’s just the way it is.

It shouldn’t be. Not for victims in real life, and certainly not for characters in books. Romy’s story is heartbreaking, intense, chilling, and absolutely horrible to read about. It is a book that explores rape culture, the aftermath of a traumatic event of sexual assault, and how hard it is for victims to speak up. It is a book that is feministic at its core, with a main character who you can only sympathize and root for, and one that has a very powerful message. I want books like this to be read, by both girls and boys. And we should be talking about rape, instead of shying away from it.

We should not be like the characters in this book.
We should not do what they did to Romy.
Her experience mattered; she mattered.
And so does every single girl in this world, whether or not they believe it.
Whether or not we tell them that they do,
They all matter.

You know all the ways you can kill a girl?
God, there are so many.


SPOILER!!
I did have one semi-big issue with All the Rage, and that is this: I did NOT like the Penny murder storyline. I thought it detracted from Romy’s story; I thought it made everything she went through seem trivial compared to that. And maybe that was the point? To show how one girl mattered more than another? How one girl’s experiences were ignored because she wasn’t loved by everyone? And that sucks, to know that there ARE people like this in the world. So maybe that was the reason for it. In any case, I just kinda wish it hadn’t been there at all. And instead, Penny could have lived and became an ally to Romy, and the sexual assault could have been given more importance. But I guess justice isn’t always served, is it? This book definitely showed that so clearly.

But it still makes me rage.

RATING:
    

1 comment:

  1. I haven't yet read this book but I can tell that reading this will be SO INTENSE. Books like this - that talk about real issues that are happening around us TODAY - make me wish more than ever that high school education didn't only concentrate on the classics but included AT LEAST a couple of today's novels that contain important messages.

    But again, I guess I can't expect that when a middle aged male teacher tearing down girls for wearing mini skirts, not wearing turtlenecks AND commenting on their choice of bra is okay. The fact that a girl is either a slut or a whore is NOT OKAY, and NO ONE does anything to stop this. I'm so very disappointed when I see that women tear each other down, instead of cheering each other on. I believe that women are crazily strong, we just need to stick together and for fuck's sake stop putting stigmas on each other.

    Really, really powerful review, Holly! <33
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    ReplyDelete

Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3