Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wrecked by Maria Padian | Rating:  ★★★★☆ (4.5)

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Let's start right off the bat with the topic at hand the trigger warning that is laying in the central plot. Wrecked tackles the subject of rape. This will not be for everyone. I need to lay that out there for my readers. Because, it is a sensitive topic. Remember, as always, to look into the novel and protect yourself from triggering any memories. Although it tackles the topic, it is not in the usual way--the story is not narrated by the victim, instead, it's a bit of an outsiders view of the aftermath.

That being said, Maria Padian has a realistic way of approaching the topic and breathes a life into her story that makes you feel deeply from page one until the end. It's deep, it's a bit of a painful experience, there's humor and it just remains true to itself in a way that most novels cannot manage. Wrecked isn't an after school special but a frank look into the characters' we meet and their lives. You look into the community of a college and the all-too-real look at sexual assault.


One of the biggest requirements for preparing yourself for this novel is a box of tissues--trust me, you're going to need it. It paints a picture that is emotional and to the point, something that will make you feel a great many things. I don't think I've ever felt so deeply for the overall prose of a book like this one--there were a few things I didn't care for, but for the most part this is one of the most incredibly heartfelt examples of the aftermath of assault. Padian really captures the highs and the lows in Wrecked and it's often a read that will make your heart ache and the wheels of your mind turn.

What makes it so different from its contemporaries, as you know by now, is that it isn't narrated by the victim. It takes a look from the outside looking in and it is portrayed quite well.  Like last years The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, it takes on the task of tackling sexual abuse in a way that is true-to-life and at times painful to read. It's brutally honest but in a league of its own and this fact may not be something that everyone is going to be keen on.

Ultimately, it's an interesting read that gets the reader thinking. Balancing out an outsiders perception of the aftermath of rape--the theme of consent, alcohol coming into play, etc etc, it leaves you wondering. I don't know that I'd consider it the best novel on the subject for obvious reasons, but I did find the voice behind it to be fresh and new. There were many topics at play and it was a mix of day-to-day life at school, relationships, sexual assault.

There was this "did it happen?" or not element to it that messes with your head a bit. I find myself questioning if it's going to be a problem, though, at the end of the day. Because there's undeniable area of gray to the story that I wasn't overly fond of but still saw it as an important take on campus assault. I think that's what made me enjoy the novel as much as I did--I wasn't sure what to think or feel, even as the emotions came full force. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to the occasional person. There are great characters in Wrecked and it's a fast, thoughtful read.

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