Saturday, March 28, 2015

Me on All the Rage

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan imprint)

The sheriff's son is not the golden boy everyone thinks he 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 the sherrif's son 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.

All the Rage is about the dark, secret things kept tucked away, swept under rugs, that should be discussed. It's about the heavy things out in the open for all the world to see that shouldn't be. It's a harsh view of the world centered around, unfortunately, a common occurrence that is rarely awarded the value and importance it deserves.

Romy is in pain, suffering in silence, trying to move on from what happened but few will let her. Many adults, many classmates, they all assume the worst about her. That she's a liar. That she wasn't raped. But she isn't, and she was. Her anger and sorrow are woven together, filling each page with her rage, her hopelessness. Everyone asks everything and nothing from her. They believe her to be a liar but offer no opportunity for her to present her side. They don't care about her. She isn't the kind of girl they care about. But Penny, gorgeous and missing Penny, is.

Part of this book is about Romy speaking out against what happened to her, about what's happening in Grebe. She has the power to speak out against her rapist, but at the same time she doesn't. Any power she once had was stripped from her, by the police, by her peers. By her rapist. Because that's what rape is. It isn't about sex, it's about power. Without it, what's left for Romy? How can she speak up, speak out, when she has nothing? When they've reduced her to nothing?

Girls are treated terribly, both here and in real life. The ways we judge, the ways we're judged. All because we look a certain way or act a certain way, because of who our parents are/were or what part of town we live in. We're believed or we aren't because of things we have no control over. There's the truth, there's what people think happen, and there's those who turn a blind eye because they'd rather believe something else. But with so many people knowing what happened to Romy, what's the point? Money? Ruining a business or someone's "good" name? And why condemn Romy but search high and low for Penny? Double standards rule the world.

Is this what the future holds, what the present currently holds, for young women who say they were raped? Ignorance. Slurs. Taunting. Abuse. Should we tell young girls that this is how the world works? That if they're ever raped, it's possible that no one will believe you? That they'll blame you for ruining the life of a young man who had everything going for him? Why is the girl always blamed? This is horrifying. Instead of telling women to be careful, to not wear certain clothes, to not act a certain way, we should be telling men not to rape. Why is all the effort to not be raped placed on the woman? She's not the only person in the situation. Someone else is there, the one who actually causes all the pain and suffering.

This book is a work of fiction, but it's so much closer to reality for many girls. Having fun at parties, drinking too much because there aren't any adults around, unable to know where they are or who they're with, unable to say stop when there's a hand up her shirt or down her pants, when there's a hand over their mouth or an arm pressed into their throat to silence their cries. This should be required reading for everyone. Teenage boys as well as girls. Grown men as well as women.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

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