Someone I Used To Know
Release Date: August 1, 2018
It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life. Two years since she was raped by her brother’s teammate. And a year since she sat in a court and watched as he was given a slap on the wrist sentence. But the years have done nothing to stop the pain.
It’s been two years of hell for Derek. His family is totally messed up and he and his sister are barely speaking. He knows he handled it all wrong. Now at college, he has to come to terms with what happened, and the rape culture that he was inadvertently a part of that destroyed his sister’s life.
When it all comes to head at Thanksgiving, Derek and Ashley have to decide if their relationship is able to be saved. And if their family can ever be whole again.
This Review Contains Spoilers.
This review may contain triggers for victims of sexual assault.
Okay. There are so many things to say about this book on both ends of the spectrum. I’ll admit, when I first started it, I was definitely thinking “great, an author using rape as a cop-out because she couldn’t think of a better storyline”. I mean, the entire premise of the book is about rape. I’m apart of a writer’s group that specifically tells everyone over and over not to use rape to further a storyline, ever.
So, I can see why assault victims would be offended by this book, and many other books that are based upon sexual assault.
But I also thoroughly enjoyed this book and believe that it was also about much more than rape itself.
Ashley is broken still, and it’s two years later. It’s crazy to make yourself realize that assault victims don’t just heal over time; they can be incredibly affected years and years later. Since her rape, Ashley stays to herself and she doesn’t talk to her brother Derek, who used to be her hero. As much as she blames him and she believes he blames her for her assault, she doesn’t know that he’s coming to terms with his own blame for himself as well. Derek’s point of view as the brother who disappeared was a lot better than I thought it would be, and it shows the emotions of someone who is on the other side- soon who is close to a rape victim. We don’t think of how rape affects the families and loved ones of the victims, but the only thing that hurt Derek more than not saving his sister from his friend was the fact that he became a trigger for her, causing him to see himself as the perpetrator. I think this aspect was extremely important to the storyline. Being someone who is very close with my brother, I couldn’t imagine having a falling out in the way that these two did, but it made it much more powerful. Derek’s point of view was inspired by real events from the college the author’s son attended.
It took me a while to feel connected to the characters, but there was a flashback scene from after Ashley’s rape where Derek triggers her from his scent, and the actual depiction of her reaction was very raw.
A huge part of this book dealt with victim-blaming, which I found important. It discussed how the boys at Ashley’s school didn’t believe her and blamed her for football being cancelled, how her brother blamed her for not staying home that night, how she even blamed herself because everything was falling apart and she didn’t know how to make anything normal again. As we saw her become more powerful and believe in herself, we also had to see her stop blaming the people around her, like her brother.
Overall, this book was good. It had it’s dramatic moments, but I was surprised to find myself enjoying it despite originally not thinking I would.
This book was about much more than rape, but about the relationship between a brother and sister who used to be best friends, but who blamed each other when one event changed both of their lives forever. More than anything, this book is about both of them learning how to stop blaming themselves and each other and finding their way back home.
My Rating: 7/10