Ari's Reviews > The Ice Cream Girls

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson
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Jul 09, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011
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I really did not like reading this book. As an American I found it hard to believe because the press, in fact the whole case was ridiculous. I'm no expert on the American justice system but USUALLY what happens over here is in a case where an adult is sleeping with a teenager (minor), it's considered rape. People do not immediately jump to the conclusion that the teenager SEDUCED the GROWN MAN/WOMAN. And yet that is exactly what happens in The Ice Cream Girls. The press is slimy and the courts are insanely harsh, judges and jury members being rude and just plain unprofessional. I was so angry at how unfairly the girls were treated that I really couldn't see much past that. I did however take note of how engaging the plot was and that it was so difficult to choose who killed Marcus, Serena or Poppy. Likewise my sympathies lay with different characters at different times, I was equally angry with them both but I closed the book admiring both girls for finally saying NO to Marcus in the past and in their present (he haunts both of them). The girls recall the events from 1987-1989 during which they met Marcus, 'fell in love' with him and were severely hurt by him, he kept them terrified of telling their family, friends, etc about him. These recollections back to the past however were choppy, it was never clear when the narration of past events ended and the present day started (their was a date that showed what year it was for the past but not the present).

The Ice Cream Girls is a chilling tale because it's so real, because there are so many women in situations where they are victims of domestic abuse because there are so many women who don't see a way out. THERE IS A WAY OUT and while this book takes a bit of an extreme approach, the lessons are extremely relevant and I really hope this book left an impact on the right people. Both girls were fifteen when Marcus took advantage of them, at first he didn't force himself on them but he paid attention to them. A handsome older man being nice to two young girls who were vulnerable. Of course they would think they were in love with them and then be too afraid to leave. This situation is sadly real, my only hope is that if anyone ends up in the same spot and takes the same way out, the press and the courts are much more sympathetic. The parents too, that was probably the second most painful thing to read about, the parents believing their daughters were killers and being unable to forgive them. I understand too that the author was just presenting the facts about the UK newspapers, tabloids and legal system but these facts ruined my enjoyment of the story. But the author tells a good story, one that is sad and yet hopeful, a fast-paced tale that will haunt you. However the next book I read by this author I want to be signicantly lighter!

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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Ari, sorry, but you're wrong. In the US it *should* be considered statutory rape, but in the rare cases where charges are actually brought, the adult is quite likely to be acquitted. Sadly, this is often true even in cases involving violence, multiple rapists, etc. Predatory rapists select victims to conform to society's prejudices, and it is a strategy that works.


message 2: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari Really? I always thought usually in rape cases the adult is found guilty because in the rare cases where the two think they are in love, people still blame/punish the adult. Hmm I'll have to look into that because that's very surprising to hear


message 3: by Kaethe (last edited Jul 11, 2011 11:52AM) (new) - added it

Kaethe Sorry to break the news. Most prosecutors won't even bring cases to trial. Most police officers still consider it a "domestic problem" if they think it's a problem at all. Mostly it's used as a lesser charge to back up a felony rape charge, and, as such, it is often the charge pleaded to. Consider this: young girls can't consent to sex in the US, but a girl under sixteen is much more likely to be charged and jailed for soliciting than to be the star witness against either the man paying to rape her or the man who traffics her.

More jurisdictions are making an effort, but as crime goes, it isn't vigorously pursued. For more on the subject check out this paper on improved multidisciplinary training.


message 4: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari But that could because of making plea deals or because the woman backs down. Either way that's terribley sad. I do still think though that our media would not side with the older rapist and call the young woman in question a 'tart'.

Thanks for the link!


message 5: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Look at the NYT coverage of rape cases; it's egregious. A girl was gang-raped in Texas, on more than one occasion, by a group of boys at men up to age 29. The paper didn't report that she was a "tart", but it did extensively cover all the townspeople asking questions about the way she dressed, and where were her parents, and how she behaved. The impression was certainly "tart". Or look at media coverage of Polanski's case. Even where the man had plead to statutory rape (in lieu of felony rape trial) conceding that he drugged and sodomized a child, there was still significant public feeling that the victim and/or her mother were to blame for the whole thing and that he hadn't done anything *really* wrong. Obviously, that feeling wasn't universal, and many people spoke out for his extradition, but a great deal of media time and space were given to anyone who wanted to speak out on his behalf.


message 6: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe "The press is slimy and the courts are insanely harsh, judges and jury members being rude and just plain unprofessional. I was so angry at how unfairly the girls were treated that I really couldn't see much past that. "

Here's an in-depth report on the effective use of the "slut defense" by high school students "of age" who gang raped a girl "under age". This is, by the way, a different case than the one I mentioned in the previous post.

I'm not trying to bash you over the head, I just happened across that today. US society routinely presents young teenage girls as the height of sexual attractiveness, so I suppose that it shouldn't be surprising that their rapists aren't held accountable.


message 7: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Solomon Aww, Ari, I was going to read this book, had no idea what it was about really. I would reccommend My Best Friend's Girl by this author. It is lighter and still engaging.


message 8: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari Yea I was thinking My Best Friend's Girl OR The Chocolate Run both looked much lighter and more to my liking. It's an intense book and I guess I would recommend it on a selfish level to hear your opinion on it. But since you already like this author I would give it a go because you might like it a lot more


Suzanne My Best friends girl was one of my favourite books by this author, I've read all her books, the subject matter is lighter but still an emotional read...


message 10: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari Ok so you'd recommend My Best Friend's Girl over The Chocolate Run?


message 11: by Michael (last edited Jan 07, 2013 09:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michael To be fair to Dorothy she was writing about an incident from less enlightened time so applying 2011 sensibility doesn't work as well in 1989. You had to feel the injustice for this novel or any crime novel to work. If it was clear from the onset who was right and who was wrong, there would not be any story to tell. Even in 2013, there were so many things which 'should not' happen and yet they continue to happen.


message 12: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari Agreed, there are many things that 'should not' happen and yet they still happen I just found it completely baffling that no one was on the girls side. I had always thought even in rape cases that SOMEONE believed the defendant(s). But maybe things are better now than they were in 1989 regarding these cases


message 13: by Ruby (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ruby Tuesday I completely agree with your review Ari. I didn't like this book at all, it was so unbelievable and badly written. I now can't read anything else by this author.


message 14: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari I do think it was unbelievable BUT I still want to read something else by the author, something lighter because I have heard great things


message 15: by Ruby (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ruby Tuesday I went on and tried another of her books after this one "My Best Friend's Girl", I gave up halfway through and then decided not to try anymore of her books, I was disappointed as I'd heard so many good things about the author. Another reviewer described the dialogue as "glib", this describes it perfectly for me. I think in the case of Ice Cream girls the story was unbelievable, and the dialogue was glib. When I read her second book, the dialogue was the same, and it irritated me for such a rated author.


message 16: by Ari (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ari Ugh that's disappointing to hear. I'll definitely take my time coming back to the author (if I ever do. In other words other books will come first)


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