Well, so far, I’m finding this just as difficult of a read as I expected. It’s so, so frustrating to hear about the skepticism and mistreatment with which the authorities treat many rape victims. I honestly read the first half of this book as quickly as I could so I could put it down and pick up a palette cleanser! I hope the author offers some way in which he wants us to take action at the end, because otherwise, I’m not sure what the point is of going through such a tough read. If you’re reading along this month, feel free to join our google doc discussion here or answer the discussion questions below. And don’t forget to vote for our April read! To be announced on March 14th…
- What do think of the author’s tone? Does he come across as an unbiased reporter and should he?
- So far, do you think this is a worthwhile read? Do you feel it serves a purpose?
- Are there any facts that have particularly surprised you or that you think other people should be aware of?
- How are you liking the book so far?
I’m having trouble with this book because although I completely agree that the police and other people treat rape victims with skepticism, I am skeptical of Krakauer’s writing because I’ve found from reading past books that he’s biased. So I’m interested in seeing other people’s opinions before I open a can or worms by expressing skepticism on a book about the evils of skepticism. 😉
Interesting! I read Krakauer’s Everest account and I heard a little skepticism about his account. I also felt it was obviously going to be biased because the author was part of the events he described. In this book, I’m so biased and annoyed by the events the author is describing, I think I’ll need to do a better job in the second half sorting out my biases from the authors!
Yes, while I was reading Into the Wild I sensed some bias as well in the way the young man’s family was represented.
Lory @ Emerald City Book Review
Although Krakauer writes in a dispassionate, journalistic tone, he’s clearly on the side of the women. I suppose that could be seen as bias, but I can’t help agreeing with him in this case. They seem to have gotten a raw deal from the legal system.
They certainly have. And I have a bias against Krakauer after his book about the Mormons, which I feel gave the non-cult-related Mormons even a worse reputation that they already had. Obviously every journalist has some bias….
This is actually something I’d like to do a better job evaluating in the second half of the book! I’m so much on the women’s side, it’s hard for me to figure out if that’s because of the way the author is writing or because he’s presenting the information in a biased way. I do think the author is clearly on the women’s side, but I’m not sure if that’s because of the way the book is written or just because he wrote the book at all.
You have a good point, Katie. I also am on the side of the women here….it seems so obvious they were wronged. But I guess we have to at least consider the idea that the reason it seems so obvious is that the author writes it in a way that makes it seem so obvious.
I do feel while I am reading this that the author has a definite agenda. I need to finish the book, but it does strike me that he may only be presenting the most obvious cases and ignoring cases where the truth is not so obvious.
What I find difficult about this book is the fact that Krakauer seems to place all the blame and guilt on the men. Not that I would ever say a rape is the fault of the victim – victim blaming is terrible. However, I feel that Krakauer always refers to the men as “rapists” giving a horrible label to men who may or may not have acted in the same way in slightly different circumstances. I imagine most of these men would never rape a woman if they thought of what they were doing as rape. Coercion, to them, probably seemed quite natural. Although we see that behavior as loathsome, placing a horrible label on them makes them victims as well, in my own mind. I wish there were a different word for coercion-rapists. Something like “bullies” only tougher. Sadly, there is not, and with this label they get lumped together with stranger rapists and men who rape children.
Rachel, I agree with you, but I’m not sure if I can verbalize what I am thinking. It seems like maybe there are degrees of rape, much like degrees of murder and manslaughter. I think there is a huge difference between the predatory, premeditated set up of Frank’s fraternity and a case (hypothetical) where 2 college kids go out drinking get very drunk, and let things get out of control. If we consider the female to drunk to responsibly give consent, isn’t fair to assume the male is too drunk to read her mixed signals? I’m not saying it should go unpunished, but maybe calling it ‘rape’ and labeling him a ‘sex offender’ for life is a bit harsh. And it may be that it would be easier to get a confession or conviction if the punishment was less harsh in these cases. Just thinking here….I’m not sure I’m convinced of the argument.
I read your comment after responding to Rachel’s comment, Kim, but what you said much more clearly here is part of what I was trying to get it and is something I’ve been considering too.
I have also been thinking about the idea of there being different categories of rape, especially in cases where the rapist is drunk. I don’t think people should be let off in these cases, any more than if they murdered someone while drunk, but in the case of murder you could be found guilty of murder or manslaughter while in rape cases your only options are innocent and guilty.
I strongly disagree, though, that coercion rapists are any different from stranger rapists. Not realizing that physically forcing someone to have sex with you is rape strikes me as almost sociopathic. How could someone not realize how terrible that would be for the other person? Honestly, I’m way more skeeved out by these guys than stranger rapists and I don’t think not applying the right label to their behavior should in anyway absolve them of it.
I borrow this from the library for your book club…But I haven’t been able to convince myself to start it.
I can’t blame you in the least! It’s such a tough topic and when I was reading it, I just wanted to get through it.