Elizabeth's Reviews > Foul Is Fair

Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2020-releases, winter-2020-releases

There are no words to truly describe my absolute anger and frustration with this book. I believe this story is dangerous in a deeply unsettling way.

And I'm frustrated and disappointed - I really enjoyed Hannah Capin's debut novel, The Dead Queen's Club. The girls' didn't just get "revenge" by uncovering the wrongdoer - but they led the perpetrator to confessing his crimes. It was empowering, refreshing in it's unique storytelling and history retelling.

But this - Foul is Fair falls far short of a good read. It portrays revenges and surviving abuse in a way that is not healthy. And I speak directly as someone who survived a decade of childhood sexual assault, parental abuse, and physical abuse. Someone who has lived through PTSD. A person who has gone to therapy and read countless stories like mine. I'm no stranger to sexual assault - I don't say #Metoo lightly.

I'm not normally triggered when reading books like this, especially when there's a trigger warning. But this book honestly makes me sick - not just because of the assault but how the assault is handled by everyone in the story.

what bothers me the most ---- not reporting the assault.
Her parents are told about the assault and don't report it.

I'm going to truly rant about this one. Sure, people need to be careful and let their kids exercise bodily autonomy. But it's awful - straight up abuse - to NOT go to the police when your child tells you they've been assaulted.
As a person who shared my abuse with my parents, i'm left shocked that this is portrayed as a good thing. It took everything in me to finally voice what had happened to me - and when my parents did not tell the police, it settled like a dark cloud over my life. I felt unbelieved - and to this day, wish someone had filed a police report.

Good adults report crimes. End of story.

Elle Jade Khanjara does not have the maturity or legal age to choose not to report a crime. It's not empowering to portray a family who gives a teenager girl this right.

Today, I'm still haunted that my abuser walks free because I didn't know how to report the crime. If one adult had helped 16 year old me report the abuse, no matter what kind of court fight ensued, at least the adult would have done the right thing. Survivors of abuse shouldn't be shackled with the guilty and weight of an abuser's crimes not being reported.

I'm sick at the thought of a teenager reading this and deciding, like Jade, that reporting an assault isn't worth the time. Truly, truly sick at the sheer irresponsibility of the author to frame this as empowering.

And my second main problem with this story - Revenge free of Real Life Consequences.

Sure, revenge in itself isn't wrong. But murder is murder for whatever reason you chose to kill. it still leaves massive wounds behind and should never be framed as a good thing.

I work in a newsroom. A few weeks ago our station reported on a women who is serving ten years in prison for killing her husband. He was an abuser, an awful man who didn't deserve anything good. But this woman took justice in her own hands and killed him - not in self defense - but in an act of frustration and anger at all the abuse she'd dealt with.

I'm frustrated for this woman because her husband was an abuser. She deserves better. But now, according to the law, she's in prison. And her five children won't be with their mom for the next ten years.

So, yes, people do take revenge. But the consequences are harsh for the innocent folks involved - this woman's children are now without their mother. This woman now has to suffer prison for a decade after suffering years of an abusive relationship.

Revenge rarely benefits anyone. I say this as someone who stewed on getting revenge against my own abusers and as a person who works in a newsroom. I read police report after report of folks taking revenge for crimes done against them. The pain, the consequences of taking the law in your own hands, it hurts not just the avenger, but those they love most.

I'm just so frustrated and bewildered by Foul is Fair.
That a revenge story was written in this way, that a young girl killing her abusers is presented in a poetic way to appeal to young readers.

A MUCH better story of revenge and consequences is Sadie from Courtney Summers. Sadie seeks to get revenge for her sister's death and deals with all the consequences, brutal as they are. It's not pretty. Or glorified, simply the honest truth of what young girls have to deal with every day.

Right now, I'm checked out Chanel Miller's book Know my Name from the library.
Miller was assaulted by a college player. Justice wasn't served. But I think surviving - telling her own story, is a form of revenge. I look forward to reading her story and feeling empowered and encouraged - something Foul is Fair completely did not do.

I'm not going to judge anyone who reads Foul is Fair. But I do think it's dangerous. Marketing this book for young readers will harm people. If I had read this when I was younger - it would have deeply harmed me.

Please carefully think about this before recommending this book.
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Reading Progress

October 17, 2019 – Shelved
October 17, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
October 17, 2019 – Shelved as: 2020-releases
October 17, 2019 – Shelved as: winter-2020-releases
January 28, 2020 – Started Reading
January 28, 2020 –
50.0% "so, i'm not feeling this at all, the premise is really bothering me. and i speak as a survivor of sexual assault, the whole way this story is writing the revenge plot as a victory makes me ill.
now, it could change but so far, not liking this"
January 28, 2020 – Finished Reading

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