“These Violent Delights” by Victoria Namkung

The reason I requested this one I will admit was all due to the title. “These violent delights have violent ends” was a quote used on the HBO show “Westworld” and hubby and I *LOVE* that show.

The quote is explained around the 70% mark as being a quote from Romeo and Juliet to mean that the relationship is going to doom both of them and that they will not have a happy ending.

I hadn’t realized this was a Shakespeare quote before but it definitely fit the subject matter.

Namkung did an excellent job of pulling in characters from various walks of life that all had a few things in common. The school they went to, but also that their English teacher at their private school was inappropriate at varying levels (from winks to full on sexual relationships with them) while they were each only 15 years old.

The varying perspectives as well as newspaper articles to tell the story were well done in my opinion and helped to move the narrative along without being bogged down. A key strength in this was the threading of what happened before to how people reacted to knowing about it now along with the storyline of Jane and her current romantic life. The romance here was light and felt appropriate due to the heavier subject matter being addressed in the main narrative.

The weaknesses here were minimum overall, however I feel they should be addressed:

I felt like the Jane Doe 1 statement written by Sasha was poignant, but also felt like it focused too much on how she will never move past what happened to her. She self-destructed and yes he played a huge part in that, but at the same time she chose how to deal with it afterwards and that victim mentality shouldn’t always define her. Her storyline, without spoilers, was heartbreaking.

Eva also seemed to voice this same sentiment of never being able to move past it. Yes, they were victims, but they don’t have to stay that way and I feel like this novel didn’t really give any hope for these women to ever expand beyond their victim role and they were being held back by it in a lot of ways. I think that even if you are a victim of a crime, you shouldn’t let that define you forever. Only at the very end in the authors note section did the author state that some women are able to move past it and lead productive and healthy lives. I feel like perhaps some attention should have been given to featuring a clearer and better off character instead of the hopelessness showcased.

Bravo for a novel bringing more awareness to rape, underage consent issues/blaming the victim, and how our culture views women who do step forward to voice things that had happened to them years ago. Especially important since yes many people do tend to ask “Why now?” Many times the processing of such a traumatic event takes years and being able to voice what happened needs a spark like the article written at the beginning of this novel for instance.

I felt that the addition of Jane telling about her Senior year of high school witnessing what she wasn’t sure was actually a rape felt out of place and redundant in a lot of ways. It wasn’t explained enough to make it really matter in regard to the overall story. Just my thoughts.

Overall thoughts: I’m not sure that I would really recommend this since it seemed so highly focused on the subject matter without actually offering any solutions to fix it or change it beyond saying and showing that it isn’t fair and is damaging.

Quick Facts:

Page Count: 251

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Griffith Moon

Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Adult)

Expected Publication Date: November 7, 2017

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

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