Frannie Cheska

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Eleanor Of Winterdale I thought the same thing. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one thinking that.

I could not understand why some other reviewers saw it as Elliot cheating or a mistake. Emma took advantage of him. As someone else already said, we are not given enough information to ascertain whether Emma actually knew what she was doing and despite being aware that Elliot thought she was Macy still had sex with him, or not and Emma was so drunk that she didn't remember what she did the next day.

I loved everything about the book, but I would have liked it even more if this had been addressed. Even if Elliot couldn't consciously admit to himself that he had been raped, it is obvious that he had a trauma subconsciously which is hinted at when we are told he wasn't able to be physically intimate with anyone else for a long time and when he finally did, he had a breakdown.

I felt very sorry for him, but we were not given enough time to digest this information as Macy's story of what happened afterwards was so traumatic that it kind of eclipsed it.
Brittany After I read Elliot’s account of the night he was for sure. He gave no consent to Emma and his friends knew he wouldn’t willingly cheat on Macy, but did nothing to stop them from going upstairs. He had a breakdown the first time he got physically intimate with someone after that most likely due to the trauma. I’m surprised Rachel or Macy didn’t see the connection....
Ash Thinking about this now, it seems impossible to imagine that it wasn’t rape. Eliot woke up to a sexual act being performed on him when he had given no consent, that is rape. Eliot being so drunk that he thinks the girl is someone else, that is rape. If it had been the other way round and a man had done this to Macy and she was so drunk she believed it was her boyfriend, it definitely would’ve been addressed as rape. I’m upset that it wasn’t handled properly in the book, it would’ve been a good opening to bring up the topic of male rape and it’s honestly the only bad note I have on this whole book.
Victoria I really so upset by this. I wish I had been more mentally prepared going into this book especially because it is already such a sad book. It ruined the book for me now that I’ve finished it.

I loved it up until the authors did not make clear that Elliot’s “cheating” was him being raped. As a rape survivor it bothers me a LOT that they frame it ambiguously as cheating (clearly ambiguous because the vast majority of reviewers seem to think of it as cheating) even though it was rape or at minimum non-consensual (if both Elliot and Emma were unable to consent) based on his explanations of what happened. This kind of ambiguity is so entrenched in our culture that so many of us don’t realize we’re raped in situations with people we know/have had past sexual interactions with.

One of my biggest rape PTSD triggers is when something is "ambiguous" so many other people don't think of it as rape (because that is related to my own understanding of how I was raped). I also keep getting intrusive thoughts about the scene where Macey sees Elliot and Emma in the bed because it is so graphically described.

Reading the reviews and responses has been very triggering, because many many people think it was "cheating", and that is entirely the fault of the authors' ambiguity. I really wish the authors could edit the book in a new edition so when Elliot explains his "mistake" it is no longer framed as a mistake and either he or Macey clearly describes it as rape/sexual assault, and that Elliot has more space to process that or at least if they can add an explainer in the beginning or end of the book clarifying this.

Also for the people who read it and still think it was not rape, PLEASE read why it is: (1) Elliot was unable to consent PERIOD because he was highly intoxicated and passed out. (2) He only consented to having sex with Macey, NOT with Emma. The whole time he thought it was Macey. Consent is only valid for what you're actually consenting to. It does not matter if you "encouraged" the other person (as some readers seem to think make it not rape/cheating) or if you were physically aroused or even if you had an orgasm. It does not make it less of a rape. (3) ALSO in response to a reply I saw somewhere, he did not need to say no for it to be rape.
Luke Herbert I don't usually read books like Love and Other Words. But I read the book as a case study of character development and emotional feelings that I wish to enhance in my writing skills. My only complaint against the book is the way the authors skipped over Emma raping Elliot.
Alexa Yes! As soon as I read that scene I was thinking that. I honestly probably wouldn’t have thought of it that way if I’m not in a course on sexuality as we speak where we read an article on male sexual assault. I understand why the authors might not have identified it that way because that is not the type of script we are given when viewing situations like that where the man is the victim, but if I imagine that same situation where the genders are reversed it’s clearly rape. I wish they had addressed this but like I said I understand why they did not. To me, Elliot did not cheat because he was way to drunk to consent, he literally said he woke up while Emma was going down on him, if he was a woman and she was a man this would have been immediately extremely problematic. And like other people have said, he clearly had trauma from it that the book addressed as him feeling guilty over Macy but I think was a combination of guilt, trauma and probably feeling really really confused and probably ashamed because men are not taught that they can be raped either. I like to think maybe eventually Elliot or Macy figured this out and got him some therapy (and she clearly needs therapy too for other reasons, not in a bad way therapy is great) so he can heal from that and hopefully Macy can understand that he never cheated on her and she can heal too.
Kim L. I wondered the same thing. If Elliott was basically passed out and thought he was with Macy, I think it could be considered rape. Emma had been after him for a long time. My question .... why didn’t his friend, Brandon, (Not CHRISTIAN — he’s an idiot) stop him?
Bari I think someone slipped something in his drink.
Nicole I just finished reading this book and I'm glad to come here and see that others are talking about this. Although the book just hinted at Elliot's trauma, it can start important conversations and even changes in cultural perspective.
willaful I wonder the same thing. I don't feel like we have enough info to know.
Vanessa B
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Bolu Yeah, as I was reading it, I definitely thought that was rape. It wasn't drunken sex. I wish Christina Lauren had clarified that part sometime in the book, but it was kind of glazed over and the story about Duncan's death took over.
He was for sure raped. His jerk friends knew that.
Gurpreet Yes, I think Elliot was definitely taken advantage. Moreover, this part of the book should have been more detailed and more attention should have been paid to this. I also believe, that Elliot's emotions were not expressed in its full potential.
Christy Definitely! I am actually disappointed that they didn't pointed that out in the novel
Jui ✨ Now that you have mentioned it, I think he was!
Marlo I just read this novel and loved it. I feel like I just got hit over head with a board! I'm in my 50s and it never occurred to me to think that Elliot was raped by Emma. I think it's sad that my generation has been conditioned to just accept this drunken behavior because now that it's been pointed out to me, I think there sure could be a case made for rape.
JeanneMarie Credit I think he was completely and totally drunk. Yes, that would count as rape except he never said "no", because he thought it was Macy in his drunken oblivion.
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Jessica | Jessabibliophile Yes... that was my exact thought when he explained what happened. :(
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by Christina Lauren (Goodreads Author)
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