The thought of her even doubting for a second that I was telling the truth was even harder. I was having trouble convincing myself that it had happened–that that had really happened, to me–
Rape is a trauma. What’s worse is it’s often a trauma the victim has been indoctrinated into blaming themselves for. We question how much we are to blame for what happened to us, what we could have done differently to avoid such an outcome. This moment replays over and over again in our minds, seeping into both mundane and important moments of our lives. We question if it even really happened. We do this even though the only one to blame is the rapist.
It was as though every feeling that I’d done such a good job of ignoring had come rushing down on top of me all at once.
I read this Right Guy, Wrong Time, under a different title, for the first time in 2019. I recall, at the time, thinking this was not a book that I would read lightly. Due to the title, which was jarring and uncomfortable, I went into the read thinking that I would read it as critically as possible.
What I learned was that the situation the main character finds herself in is jarring and uncomfortable.
And it would have to be. This is an incredibly insightful and respectful account of a young woman’s struggle to work with the incredible trauma that comes from having been raped. It follows the delicate mind-work surrounding its aftermath, realizing the truth as it is and coming to terms with it. This book handles the subject matter well, portraying the difficulty of functioning with trauma in a society that just does not take it seriously. A society that is, unfortunately, filled with troubling men and women who feel entitled to the bodies of other people.
I said it before; Right Guy, Wrong Time is, without question, the best portrayal of the aftermath of a rape I have ever read in a novel.
…the exact same feeling of helplessness and hopelessness and fuck fuck fuck.
I have been deeply impressed with the novel as a whole. And I think it’s important to note how direct the novel is in addressing feelings people experience in real life. But it’s also important to recognize that the traumatic themes discussed within this book are very difficult to read. Our main character truly suffers in many ways. The trauma follows her throughout so many moments in her life after the event.
Rape is not something to cover up in something pretty, not meant to be shielded from or ignored. Rather, this is something that we need to discuss and tackle head-on in every single way possible. We need to until we live in a society, and world, that takes these issues seriously on every level. It is not enough to simply acknowledge the event. This trauma does not leave its victims. It permeates their entire lives, from work-life, to friendships, to relationships.
This doesn’t ever fully leave you, even if it sometimes becomes easier to live with.
It was hard not to hate men, sometimes. Not all men–well, not Phillip, at least– but I would walk down the street and look around and wonder how many of those men had made someone feel the way I did.
In its original publication, Right Guy, Wrong Time was marketed as a romantic comedy. At the time, I did not see it that way. And I’m genuinely pleased to see that this was toned down a bit in the new publication. Now, we see this book presented to the world as a realistic look at what recovery looks like after rape.
To me, this novel is kind of a dark and therapeutic book. It’s one that takes a real and deep look at the painful and damaging experience of life after rape trauma. Recovery is not an easy path by any means. While it may not be one you have to take alone, it is one that leaves you with harrowing experiences. The trauma alone allows even the simplest of moments to send you back deep into that dark place.
I do genuinely believe that this is a book that is important for others to read. It’ll be important to survivors of abuse, experiencing someone shedding light on their experiences. And it will be important to men and women who don’t fully understand this trauma. I genuinely believe it has the ability to open eyes. Just what does someone go through after they’ve been sexually assaulted? How does it take over their lives? What mundane and important moments does it seep into?
I was especially impressed and pleased to have seen the inclusion of vaginismus represented in Edie’s story, as well, something I have never seen before.
It’s not a perfect novel. But it is an important one.
I just feel like I’m broken and I’m dragging you along with my brokenness and it doesn’t feel fair because I don’t know if I’ll ever be normal again.
I’ve left this book feeling better for the fact that it exists. I found myself relating, in many ways, to Edie as she struggled through the aftermath of her rape and multiple assaults. I’ve left this book feeling as though, for the first time, I see a character who understands something painful I’ve been through. They understand it on a deeper level than most. And this is something I’ve not had the experience of feeling before.
I’ve also left this book hopeful. I’m hopeful, as the world continues to spin, we’ll one day have a world where people are respectful of boundaries. I’m hopeful there will be a world where survivors of these traumas will find empathy and understanding in their path to recovery.
I know these feelings aren’t all due to this book. Many came from the growth of the #MeToo movement, which the author has admitted fueled some of her writing as she was working on a draft when it began.
I am glad to have read it. I think I am better for having read it. Maybe, others will be, too.
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