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His Favorites by Kate Walbert
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it was amazing
bookshelves: first-editions-club, literary-fiction, short-fiction, contemporary, culture, feminist

This was a Parnassus First-Editions Club book. Short and sweet I decided to dig into it before I got started on my monthly book-club book. The sad, troubling message that I get out of it, is that women and girls are so often victims of sexual abuse and assault - even if it's less overtly violent - and that it's often so easy for men, society and other women to look the other way. I've always felt that way, and this book just strengthens that option. It's socially acceptable to abuse girls and women, bonus points if you can manipulate them into thinking they want it.

Maybe harsh, but read this book and you'll see exactly what I mean. Our narrator Jo kills her best friend in a drunken nighttime golf cart ride gone wrong. Killed instantly. Jo and her family (parents end up divorced) become pariahs in her hometown, and so she goes away to a private boarding school with an excellent reputation. She gets a do-over so to speak in the fact that her peers don't know about her past, but she remembers, and she can never escape her own guilt from that night. Her teachers also know about her history, and one handsome, intelligent, 35-year old teacher usually referred to as Master, uses the pain and guilt of the female students to manipulate them into emotionally and sexually abusive relationships. You can tell while reading that even though Jo does not want to be in this relationship with Master, she almost feels like she deserves it because she killed her best friend. There is at least one other girl in school also being used by Master, and the reader can only assume more as well.

When I think of the #MeToo movement, these are the exact kinds of situations that come to mind. Situations where there is a clear right and wrong, but where the girl involved isn't quite sure she can make it stop, because maybe in some way it's her fault, or her punishment for her earlier sins. Becoming a woman is not easy, and the fact that it really is SO acceptable in society makes it even harder. The statistics don't lie. And, everyone processes things differently. The only thing that saves Jo (view spoiler)

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper look at how #MeToo can happen, or who wants to try to understand how traumatic events at a young age can affect someone forever. Walbert has masterfully told a deep and slow burning story in less than 200 pages. Poetic and painful at times, she really pulls a lot of emotion out of you in a short amount of time.

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Reading Progress

September 9, 2018 – Started Reading
September 10, 2018 – Shelved
September 10, 2018 – Shelved as: first-editions-club
September 10, 2018 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
September 10, 2018 – Shelved as: short-fiction
September 10, 2018 –
page 55
September 10, 2018 –
page 100
September 10, 2018 – Finished Reading
September 11, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 11, 2018 – Shelved as: culture
September 11, 2018 – Shelved as: feminist

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