The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is not an easy book to read. In the ideal world, date rape is prosecuted by the legal system. But in the ideal world, there are not so many shades of gray.
The story begins with the protagonist waking up in an unfamiliar room without clothes next to a boy she barely recognizes. She quickly dresses and leaves, realizing she lost her virginity and doesn't remember it. Throughout the book, memories return to her. She was drinking and blacked out. Was she a participant to the encounter? If she participated at all, does that make her culpable? Does the fact that she was drunk play a part to her culpability? These questions are explored and answered throughout the story and a trusted adult figure plainly explains to her that if she did not grant permission, it is rape.
I liked that the rape is not cut and dried. Date rape is far too common yet far too overlooked. I had at least two roommates during college who were date raped. My best friend escaped a date rape when the guy's roommates walked in, seeing her shirt unbuttoned and her arms pinned. With the years and experience since she told me, I now understand why she wanted to throw up every time we saw him on campus. I also understand why I wanted to throw up when I was paired with my roommates rapist for a first aid final. No matter how compromising the circumstances (getting drunk or making out), sex without permission is rape.
The story does not preach. In fact, one of the characters does not agree with the student-created Mockingbirds (Student Justice System). However, I love that students at a college created this system to deal with offenses against other students.
The story is well written. The characters well developed. The subject is difficult yet well addressed.