Title: No Virgin
Author: Anne Cassidy
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release: 3rd November 2016
Which animal is similar to this book? Okay, this comparison is going to be out there and difficult to explain, so just bear with me please…For me, this book is a pitbull. It (rape) needs talking about more, victims need more defense and more protection, and victims are often left badly emotionally (and sometimes) physically damaged for life. Pitbulls are commonly used in fighting rings (which is very illegal) and you may have heard horror stories of pitbulls killing chihuahuas or mauling young children. This is never the dog’s fault and can often be traced back to a triggering incident. Take the chihuahua death; a pitbull is a dog sadly bred to fight other dogs. Unfortunately, due to this, many are abused or actually taught to fight. This leaves them with a built-in aggression towards other dogs, hence the dog attack. They are very easily emotionally damaged; after a pitull is attacked by a person wrongfully expecting them to be vicious, they then become wary and will respond with violence. A rape victim is usually very emotionally damaged and shouldn’t be blamed for any of their actions (whether they’re towards their attacker or whether they just want to hide from it all and become more nervous). Another angle is that rape isn’t talked about as a big issue enough; women are taught not to wear short skirts but men aren’t taught not to sexually harass/abuse someone. In the same way, people are happy to accept that pitbull fighting is wrong, but many don’t do anything to prevent it.
The blurb on Netgalley says: My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped. Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey’s story.
This book was so good, I read it in less than a day. The way everything was written made it so much more realistic and I felt genuinely connected to Stacey. It’s raw, honest and emotional as hell but despite the rape in the story, it’s a lovely story of friendship. Stacey’s best friend, Patrice, encourages her to write the events leading up to the attack as well as the actual attack so that she can show the sexual assault help line/the police and (quite rightly) she’s disgusted this happens at all.
The story starts with the reader knowing Stacey was raped, but they have to wait to see the story unfold to see who by and how it happens. The suspense is awful though because throughout the story, you will inevitably bond with Stacey and you’ll predict all these bad situations she’s getting into but some play out, whereas some don’t so you’re left stressed for her but also relieved as well as worried for the next situation.
Stacey’s a nice girl, if a little naive, and makes a lot of mistakes during the plot, but obviously nothing she could possibly do would justify the rape. My favourite thing about this story is the way the victim blames herself and is immediately shut down and rational (correct) responses are given. This is realistic and also good to address since most rape victims feel like they are to blame, and often the rapists will use their feelings to encourage the ‘blame the victim’ idea. This book directly addresses that, and the brutality of rape in unflinching detail which is what makes it so honest and brilliant.
I’m so lucky to have read this from Netgalley, and I’d love to own the hard copy of it when it’s released, so I’d give this 9 out of 10 paw prints! I’d love to see a sequel too!