Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Monday, December 17, 2012

HTRASG_another review...and thoughts

"How To rape A Straight Guy" has become something of a hot topic on a branch of GoodReads, mainly due to the title. A number of participants don't want to read it because of that. Which I understand; it's a very in-your-face kind of title and strongly makes its brutality known from the get-go.

But those who do read it give me reviews like this --

Okay, so this doesn't happen to me very often but I am kind of speechless. I honestly don't know how to tell you how I feel about this book, without making myself sound like a crazy bitch. But I'll give it a good go.
I just hope it makes sense. LOL

I will start by saying that yes, this book contains rape scenes, many of them in fact. So if you can't stomach that, I'd turn away now and not read it.
I know that a lot of people will be put off because of the title and that's fine, I don't blame you. I don't agree with or enjoy reading about rape in any situation, but I urge you to look past that and to see this book for what it is. A very dark and disturbing tale about a guy that was dealt a really shitty hand in life. How he copes with those situations and the impact they have on his life. Good or bad.
Curt has ended up in some truly horrific situations in his life, situations where he had to harden himself, to live through it. He had to adapt to survive, to become harder so he would be able to protect himself. Unfortunately, the changes he made didn't exactly make him a better person.

Curt was... My God, I don't even know how to describe him. Did I really like him? No, I can't say I did. No matter how sorry I sometimes felt for him, or just wanted something to work out for him, just once. He still went on to hurt people and to ruin their lives. He didn't care about them or how he was possibly destroying their lives. That, for me, was unforgivable.
It was hard seeing him deal with all of these new feelings, the first time he took a guy by force...

'I was really shook up. I'd enjoyed it too fuckin' much. First time I really fuck a guy an' it makes me feel better than when I'm with my wife? It fucked with my mind,'

Once Curt got out of prison (after six years) he really struggled to adapt. He was still feeling how he did back in prison. The need to be in control, to have all the power and to make everyone around him know that he was top dog.
He wanted to over-power men, to have them beneath him and be powerless to stop him. He craved it like nothing else in his entire life.
This led Curt into the worst situation he would ever face, one that would lead him down the darkest path he would ever face.

Even though my review is a complete fucked-up mess of thoughts and feelings, I do know this...
This book was amazing. I felt such an incredible array of emotions.
I wanted to cry for Curt, for the shitty upbringing he had. I was angry for him, for being left to rot in prison by his mother, who could have spared him so much pain if she'd have given a shit. I was disgusted by the way he treated all those men, who truly didn't deserve what he did to them. But there were times throughout the story that I actually felt myself warming to Curt, wanting him to be okay and to over-come the things that were thrown his way. I know it's crazy, believe me I do, but I couldn't help it.
Sometimes I forgot that he was actually raping people. Seeing things from his POV distracted me from that fact sometimes. Then something awful would happen and any positive feelings I had for Curt went flying out the window.
Only to come back again.
I think that might be what the author intended. To fuck with the readers head, like Curt did his victims. It was still rape and they hated every second of it, but the fact that he made them cum fucked with their head.
I think the author wants you to like Curt, to feel sorry for him, to sympathise with him. Then to sucker-punch you with the fact that he's still a rapist, and that you were pulled in by Curt, whether you wanted to be or not.
Very well done, it worked.
Overall, I was speechless when this book ended. I think I loved it, but I'm also horrified at the same time.

I know none of that makes sense, I'm sorry. I tried, I really did. LOL
I love the dichotomy in her (yes, her) comments -- how she loved it and is appalled at herself for doing so.

Curt very much approves.

So...what does this mean for future works? I'm getting pretty mean with Jake in "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor". But I don't get all that hard-assed in "The Alice '65"...which may not be a bad thing; I don't want to go overboard with Casey's abuse of Adam. Maybe it means I'm just not letting myself go far enough.

I wish people would let me know what works in A65 and what doesn't so I can start digging in deeper, sooner.

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