Ugh. I almost wanted to read Unleaving by Melissa Ostrom. I’m still tempted, but that temptation is somewhat tempered by the fact that this book includes some ridiculous tension involved in a potential murder or kidnapping. And I just cannot. Why, why would someone ruin a book about the aftermath of sexual assault, the trauma, and the healing process with a disappearance mystery? You don’t need to have a victim of rape disappear out of the blue to have a good story dealing with the aftermath trauma of such an experience. There’s already a story there and you’re just taking away from the importance of recognizing the trauma, portraying it realistically, and addressing the topic in general in a positive way (at least, as positively as it can be addressed). I just don’t understand what the point of having a girl go missing is in this? I really don’t. It seems counter productive, since it takes away from the real focus of the story–what sexual assault does to people and how those people have to work through it.
So, I don’t know. I’m probably not going to read this unless I’ve got nothing else and even then I’ll probably forget about it at some point. I’m just concerned that this story, at the end, is going to head off in the wrong direction and I don’t want to read that. I’m just worried that the subject matter is going to be brushed aside and ultimately not handled well enough for me to see it as worth my time. It’s a shame, but that’s where we’re at.
In a book that is both urgent and timely, Melissa Ostrom explores the intricacies of shame and victim-blaming that accompany the aftermath of assault.
After surviving an assault at an off-campus party, nineteen-year-old Maggie is escaping her college town, and, because her reporting the crime has led to the expulsion of some popular athletes, many people–in particular, the outraged Tigers fans–are happy to see her go.
Maggie moves in with her Aunt Wren, a sculptor who lives in an isolated cabin bordered by nothing but woods and water. Maggie wants to forget, heal, and hide, but her aunt’s place harbors secrets and situations that complicate the plan. Worse, the trauma Maggie hoped to leave behind has followed her, haunting her in ways she can’t control, including flashbacks, insomnia and a sense of panic. Her troubles intensify when she begins to receive messages from another student who has survived a rape on her old campus. Just when Maggie musters the courage to answer her emails, the young woman goes silent.
How do you feel about Unleaving by Melissa Ostrom? Do you think you’d be interested in picking it up? What are your thoughts on the detraction from the subject matter that the synopsis suggests will happen? Do you think this book might not be for you? Please feel free to let me know all your thoughts in the comments below! And happy reading to you all!