Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review: Missoula by Jon Krakauer

Title: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
Author: Jon Krakauer
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Hard copy
Content Alert: Language, sex, sexual abuse, violence

Remember when I said that Jonathan Franzen's Purity was too deep and depressing to be good beach reading? Instead, on the advice of my husband who had just plowed through this entire book in two days of kiddie pool duty, I picked up Jon Krakauer's Missoula, which is, as the subtitle suggests, about a series of date rape cases that took place on or near the University of Montana campus between 2008 and 2012. Krakauer lays out the stats that at least 110,000 women are raped in the United States each year, most by acquaintances, and most of the time, when victims actually do report the crimes, they, and not the perpetrators, become the object of suspicion. This is definitely true in the cases Krakauer profiles, none of which has a clear or wholly satisfying conclusion for the alleged victims.

I went to college in a place where I honestly never saw drinking. I also never knew anyone who admitted to having premarital sex. I know that doesn't mean that it didn't happen at BYU, but I think it does mean that cases like the ones Krakauer profiles in Missoula were both less frequent (alcohol played a role in all of the cases he examines) and less likely to be openly discussed. So this book was shocking in a lot of ways. As I prepare to send my kids off to college, I think this is a book that all of them (boys and girls) should read.

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