My Book World
Krouse, a fine novelist and short story writer (I became acquainted with her work in The New Yorker), turns to nonfiction in this book. She lives in Colorado where she secures a job as a private investigator for an attorney who is attempting to litigate against the town’s university (you don’t have to comb your memory for long to realize she’s talking about the University of Colorado). In her developing career—she informs her boss during her interview that she is not a PI—she learns to interview victims of sexual violence at the hands of the university’s potential recruits, contemporary football players, and coaching staff (at least by way of their complicity). It is a case that continues for six years until it is “resolved” (you’ll have to read the book to see what that means).
Throughout this narrative, Krouse weaves in her own story of sexual abuse. Seems as a child, the man living with her mother, known to readers as X, begins abusing her at age four and continues for a number of years. This abuse colors all her relationships, of course, with both men and women. At a certain age, she refuses to be in the same room with X, a stance her mother does not approve. In fact, at one point, her mother “disowns” her for a fairly flimsy excuse concerning Krouse’s wedding details. Oh, and into the narrative is also woven her relationship with a sensitive guy, who turns out to be the man she marries. Krouse must learn to live without her biological family (her brother the only one who deigns to speak to her, usually on the down low), and so she forms a new one with her husband and a number of other close friends.
The case? The university sustains huge losses because of the scandal, and many people at the top are let go, very gingerly, because the university doesn’t need any more litigation or loss of income. For example, the head football coach is fired, but the university must pay out his contract for several million. Erika Krouse continues to work for the attorney, but the cases seem like light-lifting compared to the sexual assault case. She enjoys having acquired the skills she has learned: research, interviewing, counseling (insomuch as she can) to win over informants and witnesses. A very fine book about a horrible subject, one our society has yet to deal with in a uniform fashion. Women and girls deserve NOT to be assaulted in any manner by any male. Period.
TUES: A Writer's Wit | Vicki Baum
WEDS: A Writer's Wit | Somerset Maugham
THURS: A Writer's Wit | Mary Mapes Dodge
FRI: My Book World | Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers