Wednesday, 21 June 2017

All The Rage || Courtney Summers

Trigger warning: All The Rage by Courtney Summers is a book about rape.
This book isn't a light-hearted contemporary that you picture yourself reading on the beach with a cosmo in the other hand. Its a book full of darkness. Its also the first book in a while that left me wanting to string my constellations of thoughts into a tangible review.
Courtney Summers is not afraid to tell the truth. A tragic irony, since the whole book is based on the opposite. Each chapter drips confession, even if Romy (the protagonist) avoids the very same thing. This book is about what its like to be a girl that has been raped. Not only that, its about what it's like to be a girl in general. How we pit ourselves against each other, and how we cower in the face of the uncertainty that, if we stand up for what we believe in, we run the risk of being just as unfortunate as those that need our help. How we walk alone at night and cross our fingers that we remain safe, and how we cringe every time a man whistles as we walk past.
The pages say horrible things, like people often do. It brings to light what so many ignore; the truth to being a woman, and the hardship of his word against yours. The tight lipped truth that if a man contradicts your story, it suddenly becomes less worthy of a reaction.
It touches upon the loneliness of education, and the aftermath of being brave enough to admit something before you are shunned. The words resonated with me not because I related to them (something that the power of literature often enables), but because they spoke so honestly and brutally that I couldn't help but open my eyes. It isn't fluffy, but neither is real life. Rape is such a taboo subject that it takes a brave author to write about it, and a brave reader to turn the last page. I read this in one sitting, and I could feel how important it is.
In terms of the writing, the switching from first to third person in the beginning threw me off. In fact, I almost abandoned it. Once you get about fifty pages in and acclimatise to the style of writing, it becomes clear that this is a beautifully raw piece of literature. Authors write what people are afraid to say in everyday life.
This is a story about rape. The brutality of it, the affects of it, the way people respond to it. It touches on what it feels like to be part of a community, and what happens when that community turns on you. There is nothing more heart-breaking than watching a confession be rendered meaningless, and I cannot imagine being in Romy's shoes. To go through something so raw and have not one person believe you. The story really begins when a girl goes missing, and suddenly bravery is more than a protagonist trying to save herself. I don't want to give anything away, so this review is spoiler free. Trust me though, this is a book that will make you view the world a little bit differently. One chapter at a time.
I cannot ignore fearless writing. Or the anger that it shakes up inside of me. (Believe me, you're supposed to feel that way.)
5/5 stars on goodreads.

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