Missoula by Jon Krakauer (2015)

I have utmost respect for Krakauer as a writer and an investigative journalist. He al635590820521456528-Missoula-Krakauer-coverways seems to find a story that needs telling, and he humanizes his stories in such a way that his readers understand the issues and implications of his topics, but we also see the personal and emotional side by getting to know the people who make up each story. In that sense, Missoula, the story of  rape and the justice system in a college town, lives up to his other books.  However, unlike his other works, I found Krakauer’s bias to be obvious and angry.  He’s always been good about disclosing his personal biases, but I think he usually does a good job of keeping them in check. In this book, they seem to color some of his descriptions and depictions.  I also found this book to be tedious at times, especially in the middle when we get a blow by blow analysis of a long court case.  I usually cannot put his books down, but I ended up skimming much of the second half of Missoula, getting the gist of it. That said, it’s an important story: people need to be aware of the extent to which rape happens on college campuses–and the extent to which so many rapes go unreported.  This book helped me better understand the emotional toll many girls/women experience, and why so many cannot bring themselves to report a rape. It also exposes the football culture, not only at University of Montana, but at other schools, where too often football players carry a sense of entitlement toward women and sex. This is surely an important book for any parent who’s sending a child (female or male) off to college as I did two years ago and will again in a year.  (nonfiction)

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