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Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl Summary and Reviews

Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl

by Jeannie Vanasco

Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl by Jeannie Vanasco X
Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl by Jeannie Vanasco
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2019
    360 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Jeannie Vanasco has had the same nightmare since she was a teenager. She startles awake, saying his name. It is always about him: one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark. A boy who raped her.

When her nightmares worsen, Jeannie decides―after fourteen years of silence―to reach out to Mark. He agrees to talk on the record and meet in person. "It's the least I can do," he says.

Jeannie details her friendship with Mark before and after the assault, asking the brave and urgent question: Is it possible for a good person to commit a terrible act? Jeannie interviews Mark, exploring how rape has impacted his life as well as her own. She examines the language surrounding sexual assault and pushes against its confines, contributing to and deepening the #MeToo discussion.

Exacting and courageous, Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl is part memoir, part true crime record, and part testament to the strength of female friendships―a recounting and reckoning that will inspire us to ask harder questions and interrogate our biases. Jeannie Vanasco examines and dismantles long-held myths of victimhood, discovering grace and power in this genre-bending investigation into the trauma of sexual violence.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Vanasco invites her readers to understand the complicated humanity involved in both causing and experiencing harm, leaving the limits and possibilities of accountability and healing as urgent, open questions. An extraordinarily brave work of self- and cultural reflection." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Vanasco's second memoir sets the canon of #MeToo-era creative nonfiction on fire: she interviews her rapist...This is a slow-burning, reverberating meditation on the nuances of morality, masculinity, and punishment...Inimitable." - Booklist (starred review)

"This is a painful reminder of the ugly ways some men treat women, and Vanasco's nuanced story will resonate with those who've endured sexual inappropriateness in any form." - Publishers Weekly

"Thought-provoking, unmooring, and haunting." - Nylon

"Clearly this is an important and timely book. Even in a world that can seem brimming with stories similar to Vanasco's, hers stands out...heartfelt, painful, and essential." - Shelf Awareness

"Jeannie Vanasco has written exactly the book we need right now. I wish everyone in this country would read it." - Melissa Febos, author of Abandon Me

"Vanasco performs a literary feminist miracle for all women who have been denied basic rights, been suspect, been labeled, been unbelievable after their rapes and assaults, and shines our collective shame outwardly, to ask a man why a choice to abuse is made." - Sophia Shalmiyev, author of Mother Winter

"Vanasco is a brilliant craftsperson―blurring the lines between memoir, investigation, and interview, she confronts her years-ago rapist and dives headlong into the complexity of forgiveness and redemption, what was taken and what can be rebuilt. Our cultural discussion of rape is so deeply marked by silence. Enough with the silence. Enough. Vanasco has given us a bridge." - Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

The information about Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Jeannie Vanasco

Jeannie Vanasco is the author of The Glass Eye: A Memoir (Tin House Books, 2017). Her work has appeared in The Believer, the New York Times "Modern Love," Tin House, and elsewhere. She lives in Baltimore and is an assistant professor at Towson University.

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