GUEST WRITER PAULA RICHARDS RECOMMENDS SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW BY PATTY BLOUNT
The novel Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount is about not only the survivor of rape and her interactions with others, but also the aftermath for her family and friends. It is this side of the story that I enjoyed the most, as emotional as it may have been. I also appreciated the strong male character presence in this book, and I feel that makes it a good read for a wide range of readers.
The book does not go into all the gritty details of the actual rape, but it certainly deals with Ashley’s thoughts and flashbacks about it and the triggers she faces on a daily basis. Someone I Used to Know is, from my perspective, a clear window and definitely an eye-opener into the effects of rape on not only the victim but also everyone she is connected with. The chapters alternate between Ashley and her brother Derek, so we get both of their perspectives on how they are each feeling and also how they assume the other is feeling. I think this is the way with many difficult family situations, where we find it easier not to mention the “incident” and think we know what is happening with each other when, in fact, we are wrong. This leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings when discussing the issue head-on might be more beneficial for everyone involved.
The book is emotionally-driven and shows us how the relationships within the novel are affected by this traumatic event. We see how athletes and society revere their skill and entertainment value over the lives of “regular” people. We see how the victim suffers long after everyone assumes “they should be over it by now” and continues to suffer even after the rapist has served his time. We see how family dynamics change during a crisis and who is willing to stand up for what is right…even when it might not be the popular thing to do, and we are reminded that support comes from many different places, sometimes from where you least expect, but you have to be open to it.
I feel this book could be a beneficial read for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters. The daily decisions we take for granted continue to cause trauma and stress for these victims, and this book is able to educate us in an emotionally powerful way.
Paula Richards is a fairly new teacher to English Language Arts. She loves to read and has recently been surprised by a variety of new genres. She has three children who she tries to share her love of reading with through many library visits and too much money spent on book orders!