Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Title: Anatomy of a Scandal
Author: Sarah Vaughan
Genre: Fiction / thriller 

Rating: 4 / 5

Goodreads

Why I picked it up: I heard it was suspenseful and about a scandal. Sounds good to me! 🙂 I entered a drawing for it because I got an email from Goodreads that it was happening, and lo, I received a copy in the mail. I wasn’t 100% sure I felt like a thriller at the moment but I decided not to put it off.

What it’s about: A charming politician is accused of rape in the fallout from a sex scandal. This is the story of the trial and its impact on (some) of the people impacted.

What I liked: Obviously I liked a lot about this book, at 4 stars. It was quick to get into and fairly engrossing. I finished it in two days. I kept wanting to pick it back up. I thought it handled its subject matter well, which is really important for a book that covers rape and sexual assault. (SPOILERS AHEAD) I liked that it pulled away from casting the rapist as some awful monster and instead focused on the privilege aspect, society’s role in creating the situations and people that lead to this phenomenon. It’s easy to say “rapists are monsters,” but if you accept that, then it’s going to be awful hard to come to terms with the idea of a friend or family member being a rapist; after all, in your experience they are decidedly not a monster. This book does a good job of implicating things besides just the rapist.

What I didn’t like: I hesitate to say this, because I think it might actually be an asset for the wider readership. However, the writing itself felt very “light”–not the subject matter, but the quality of the writing. It felt like the book could have been “deeper.” Although I think for the intended “bestseller” kind of audience, it’s appropriate. Some people might feel it was also too heavy-handed with its “agenda,” but I thought it was a good balance between “message” and plot/characters.

Overall / recommended: I would recommend this book, with the caveat that it is about rape and sexual assault. I think it handles the subject matter well and am thinking of bringing my copy by the gender & sexuality equality center on campus for them to have.

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