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Things we didn't talk about when I was a girl : a memoir
2019
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Library Journal Review
As part of the process of healing from her 2003 rape, Vanasco (English, Towson Univ.; The Glass Eye) decides to talk to her rapist, her childhood best friend. This memoir contains the raw and open conversations with her friends and family as well as transcripts of exchanges with the man who raped her. At times the text is linear, at other times fragmented, as the author explores memories and feelings. This book is not only about the author's own experiences, but how sexual assault and rape has impacted other people in her life. It touches on the conversations people have about sexual assault and more important, the dialogs not had. VERDICT This fiercely written, sobering account of actions that alter lives forever is recommended for students of sociology, gender studies, and psychology, as well as general readers wishing to learn more about the effects of sexual assault and rape.--Meghan Dowell, Carroll Uni., Waukesha, WI
Publishers Weekly Review
Vanasco (The Glass Eye) was raped during her sophomore year of college, and in this powerful memoir, she confronts her assailant, a man she calls Mark. Vanasco and Mark became friends at 13, and in 2003, while on break from Northwestern University, Vanasco attended a party at the house where Mark lived. She became drunk and Mark took her to his room in the basement. Vanasco graphically describes what followed: Mark undressed her, penetrated her vaginally with his fingers, masturbated over her while she cried, and told her: "It's just a dream." Fourteen years later, Vanasco contacted Mark to discuss the assault and here delves into their uncomfortable email exchanges, phone calls, and meetings. Mark has become a remorseful loner, and reveals to her that he's still a virgin. Vanasco worries about giving him a voice in her book: "But by interviewing him, I also can invert the power dynamic... he'll probably come across as too defensive. And maybe I want that." In unadorned prose, the author interweaves her exchanges with Mark with stories of other predatory men she's known, including a high school teacher who punished her after she rejected him. This is a painful reminder of the ugly ways some men treat women, and Vanasco's nuanced story will resonate with those who've endured sexual inappropriateness in any form. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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