Missoula by Jon Krakauer book review | Book Addicts

Missoula by Jon Kraukauer

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Missoula by Jon Kraukauer is a look at five rapes that took place in Missoula, Montana and featured students of the University of Montana.

3 out of 10 stars.

I had a hard time reading this and have come to the conclusion that men should not write about rape.  They may think they are providing an objective viewpoint, but they can’t because they are not women.  Each time the author tried sympathizing or empathizing with the victims, he told the part of the story that made the victims very unsympathetic.

For example, with the story of Allison who was raped by a young man she’d always looked up to like a brother, she and her mother sat down with him and tried to get a confession on tape.  Within two minutes they got the confession but continued to talk to him about being a part of their family for so long and how this was a betrayal.  Then they told him they weren’t going to report it unless he raped again.  :0  The statue of limitation on rape is 7 years.  And according to the author 63% of rapists are serial rapists and will rape again.  Why not report it?  This was a 230-pound football quarterback who raped her while she was passed out.  He cut her inside which the mother repeatedly points out at every opportunity.  This made no sense to me at all.  Both Allison’s behavior and her mother’s behavior were unusual and what I would call abnormal.

Another problem with the book is that the author weaves the five stories into each other.  The first story is called Allison but there is never a chapter with the other victims’ names because their stories are told in bits and pieces throughout Allison’s story.  This drags on slowly and, frankly, gets really boring.  It would’ve been much more gripping to read their complete stories individually rather than going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, etc. through the entire book. That was tedious now, wasn’t it?

One of the best statements in the book comes in the form of a quote from Jessica Valenti:

Women do not get raped because they were drinking or took drugs.  Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough.  Women get raped because SOMEONE RAPED THEM.

And let’s not forget this little tidbit that instigated an investigation into Missoula’s treatment of rape and finding that more than 80 rapes committed in Missoula over this four year period were completely ignored:

In December 2010, four of Beau Donaldson’s teammates on the UM football team allegedly gang-raped a female student when she was too drunk to resist and because the football players claimed the sex was consensual they were not charged with a crime.  A year later, in December 2011, three Griz football players sexually assaulted two female students after allegedly drugging them.  None of these assailants were prosecuted either.

The author frequently resorts to dredging up testimony from trial that’s repeated verbatim and goes on monotonously.  I didn’t like the parts he chose to memorialize.  It made the rape almost anticlimactic.  I don’t care who these men were.  I care that they brutally raped young girls much smaller and weaker than them and that they drugged them first so they couldn’t fight back.

3 out of 10 stars.  Very disappointing.  Nothing at all like what the synopsis describes.  The five victims chosen were very similar and, as rape goes, their cases were modest in comparison to what most women go through.  It trivialized rape.

Reviewed by Colleen.

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