Again & Again - Ellen Bravo
If sexual shenanigans disqualified candidates for Congress, the U.S. would have no government. But what if the candidate was a pro-choice Republican supported by feminist groups—and a college rapist whose secret could be exposed by a leading women’s rights advocate?
Again and Again tells the story of Deborah Borenstein—as an established women’s rights leader in 2010 Washington, DC, and as a college student, thirty years earlier, whose roommate is raped by a fellow student. The perpetrator is now a Senate candidate who has the backing of major feminist groups . . . which puts Deborah in a difficult position. Torn between her past and present, as the race goes on, Deborah finds herself tested as a wife, a mother, a feminist, and a friend.
It's not quite a Sophie's Choice situation, but it really is a catch 22 for Deborah who has much to lose with either decision. There won't be any real winners no matter what she decides and it seems like she's the only one who can see both sides of the coin.
First up, I picked this book because it covers the topic of college rape. No parent wants to send their daughter away to college and worry that she's going to get raped and that a college would basically do nothing for her and essentially stand by the guy. Yet we hear about this in the news all of the time, Dateline has had several specials on it, and it's just a really scary situation. But let's say you were raped in college, and that scenario happened, and your friend knew. You grew up, things happen, and that friend ends up being a go-to person at the forefront of women's rights. The perpetrator is now running for Congress and everyone likes him. He's a favorite, he's pro-choice, feminists think he's just this great guy, totally on their side. Deborah has an arsenal of things that could expose him for the dirt bag he actually is, but if she does that, it's a huge wound to the greater good of women's rights. They lose a huge ally that they basically need. What do you do?
The victim, Liddie, was Deborah's first real life long friend and college room mate. Deborah obviously has to tell Liddie that not only could the rape become public fodder but also that her identity could be revealed. Liddie spent years trying to recover and heal from her attack and clearly does not want to be the poster child of rape and asks Deborah to stand by her on this. But it isn't cut and dry on this because Deborah's husband, who is a total asshole and reminds me of Cyrus Beene on Scandal, is the campaign manager of the guy running against the rapist. So he obviously wants Deborah to expose what a dirtbag Will (the rapist) is because that means his candidate will likely win and he's very much anti-women's rights.
You see the catch 22? No matter what she does, someone is unhappy and/or angry with her. There is a line in the book where Andrew asks Deborah why she's letting Liddie act like a victim and be weak, when Liddie very much has PTSD from the attack. Deborah fires back about would you say that about a war veteran with PTSD? Of course not, but there is the double standard.
Without saying more and potentially ruining the outcome for you, excellent book. I've been on a kick with books revolving around the political and justice system and I'm always left feeling a little bit jaded. Like maybe none of our voice actually matters because it's really behind doors deals and conversations that make this country go round. *sigh*
But I highly recommend this. I think you'll really enjoy it, and when you read it, let me know your thoughts! You can find Again and Again on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. Also check out Ellen Bravo's website and Twitter!
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