Monday, October 5, 2015

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

5 Stars
“I wonder which is worse: the fear of the unknown? Or knowing for sure that something terrible is true.”

What We Saw is a book about rape. It’s about pointing out that there is ZERO blurred line when it comes to consent. It’s about what happened when a girl from the wrong side of the tracks went to a party just “asking for it” and about the boys who decided to give her what she wanted. It’s about the aftermath of being a victim who was brave enough to file charges. It’s about a small community whose lives were so intertwined that people were afraid of losing everything if they jumped the gun and ruined the lives of the stars of the basketball team ( “#r&P” ). It’s about saying f*&^ it and speaking up anyway. It may be the most important book I’ve ever read and it should be required reading for EVERY high school student.

And yes, it talks about getting wasted, and describes sex acts and is nauseating in its reality and will break your heart and make you cry big, fat, ugly tears when you think of how many “Staceys” there are in the world and how many small communities react exactly the way Coral Sands did. It shows that everything about rape is UGLY and that anyone who dares to make excuses for it or tries to romanticize it in any way is DISGUSTING and should seriously get their head checked. It will probably end up on the Banned Books list next year due to all of those things, but the conversation has to begin SOMEWHERE so let it begin with this book.

This book covers EVERYTHING. From the statements we hear every time a rape story appears on the news . . .

“All I’m saying is there are rules. You don’t get wasted. You don’t take off your top. You don’t flirt with raging drunks. You don’t dress like a slut. You have to play by the rules. If you don’t, this is what happens.”

to the “boys will be boys” mentality . . .

“Words have MEANINGS. When you say you ‘can’t help yourself’ if a girl is wasted, that means something, too. You’re saying that our natural state as men is ‘rapist.’ That’s not okay with me.”

to the reality of nearly EVERY story/party/whatever . . .

“Nothing is exactly as it appears.
The closer you look, the more you see.”

to what SHOULD be done instead of someone getting raped . . . .

“Find her friends.
Call her parents.
Give her a pillow.
Some Advil.
Make sure she has a safe place to sleep.
Don’t let her drive.”

or simply . . .


I apologize for the lack of bells and whistles on this review. Sometimes the books just need to speak for themselves.


I used an entire package of post-its on this one. It's going to take some time to figure out what to say. For now I'll leave it with the most important book I've read . . . maybe ever.

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