Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ALL THE RAGE BY COURTNEY SUMMERS - BOOK REVIEW

Wow, this book. I had heard some amazing things about it but I didn't really know what I was getting into. Also, this book and review include trigger warnings for rape and sexual assault, please proceed with caution.


Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is All The Rage by Courtney Summers.


This is the story of Romy. She lives in a small town with her mom and her mom's boyfriend. After accusing the town sheriff's son of rape, she is branded as a liar and untrustworthy. Her only friend, Penny, turns her back on her and she becomes the social outcast of the school. Romy's only solace is the diner where she waitresses and hangs out with Leon, one of the cooks. She tries to put the past behind her, but then at the annual rite of passage party, Penny goes missing. Romy fears for the worst but knows that in this town, it's her word against his.

On paper, this book sounds really good. And for the most part, it is. Summers tackles the issue of rape and rape culture and shows the dark side, the side where victims are brushed off as attention seekers. But even though she is writing about this issue, I found myself not really feeling like it was of major importance for most of the book. I guess by the lack of attention Summers gives the idea of rape, the more she is showing what is wrong with society.

This book paints a horrific picture, one that I feel almost claustrophobic thinking about - the idea of no one believing you. Romy's family is already on the outs with Sheriff Turner and his family. There comes a point when he so vehemently argues with her that she is wrong and it sickened me. How can you vow to serve and protect and then dismiss someone like that? But I know it's something that happens all over.

Even with the kids at school, Romy is harassed. She is called names, threatened, no one will stand up for her. And, unfortunately, I know things like this happen at school too. Summers creates a town that is out to get Romy to the point where she has no one left to turn to.

I suppose this book isn't talking so much about the act of rape and sexual assault so much as it is about the toxic culture and ways society views it. Romy has gone through such a traumatic experience already and then to go through the bullying and harassment, I cannot even imagine how she was able to get through it. And I think that might be what Summers is trying to talk about in this book.

Summers portrays what it is like to be a girl today, how you can be blamed for something you wanted no part of. Because you dressed a certain way; because you acted a certain way; because you were drunk. And while I do have some issues with the book as a whole, it is important that we don't lose sight of what she is really getting at here and what is wrong with a society that blames the victim.

I think my more major problem with this book lies in the storyline and character development. This book feels like a part of a book; I have no real idea what Romy or any of the characters are really like. Perhaps Romy is left more generalized to be able to allow readers to insert themselves into her mind and thoughts, but I feel like I don't know who she is. I get why she was so particular on her nails and why she always had to wear red lipstick. But these sorts of details are just surface level and still leave me feeling like I have no idea who Romy really is.

I also felt like the plot was a little all over the place. There were a couple scenes that I felt weren't really necessary, a couple characters I didn't see the point in, just little things like that. They definitely didn't take away from the book's message, but they did make me like it a little bit less.

Overall, I really appreciate what Summers was trying to do, but some parts just fell flat for me.