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

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

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Member Reviews

I appreciate the courage it takes to publish such a deeply personal experience but I wasn't able to finish it.  My main issue is the style of writing, it just feels like notes and not a finished novel.
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I wasn't aware this was about the author until I started to read but this made it all the more stark and shocking. There are so many themes to make note of, that this is not just about confronting a rapist years later but about moving on and confronting your own behaviour towards other people. Fascinating stuff.
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I have gone back and forward on reviewing this book because, while I understand Jeannie Vanasco's desire to write it, I question her decision to publish it. Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl is Vanasco's attempts to understand why her rapist assaulted her and though, the project in its entirety surely brought her some salvation, it ultimately would have only worked as insular ruminations. I do not mean to make light, to discount her process or piss on her attempts of recovery but I can not help what I feel - that this book comprised only a part of an ongoing process. A first draft, if you will, of something that one day will turn into something more concrete. Because primarily, this is a book of subjunctive desires ("this is how I will feel"/"this is what I going to do") and the longwinded conversations that Jeannie Vanasco had with her rapist in order to realise them. 
I suppose that it is no spoiler to say that she never really gets an answer.
Most people don't. 
But this wasn't that - it wasn't what she was attempting for it to do. 
Instead, it was trying to find a root cause; something in his - or even, her - life, that factored into what happened. Something to pin down; to draw a circle around; to a-ha to the waiting, reading audience.
But that answer never came.
And when your strapline is "Why would a good person commit a terrible act?", that is just not something you can pin the book on.
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I found this book to be difficult to read not because of how it is written but because of what it portrays. The descriptions of sexual violence were too hard for me to read for personal reasons. My five star rating is for the bravery and honesty of the author
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This is a haunting and powerful memoir of a young girls traumatic sexual assault by a close friend when she was just 14, which will stay with me for a long time. 
A raw, brave and thought provoking read. 5 stars
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This book was hard hitting and I comfortable to read as it’s based on being sexually assaulted and raped.
Thought provoking and interesting and the author has so much strength to write this and share her story.
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I appreciate this is the author’s memoir but I struggled to have any sympathy with her.  I understand what happened to her has now been defined as rape, but put into the context of rape as the general population would think, then it’s almost insulting to those victims.  The other part of the memoir I found incredible was the amount of  rapes she had been victim to from different perpetrators in her relatively short life.  I’m sorry that these things happened to her but the incident at college possibly clouded the main storyline of her and Mark and made me feel ‘not another one’. I’m sure the process of contacting ones rapist might be cathartic but I’m not sure it makes a great book..  just not my cup of tea.
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This is an incredibly hard review to write. You see, on the one hand I absolutely loved this book but on the other, I know that this won't be for everybody.
This chronicles the author's attempt at reaching out to the friend who sexually abused her in the past. And with that comes a lot of triggering content that I don't know many will be able to cope with.
I myself had to put the book down many times, not because of the description of the actual assault but because of everything that came with it that felt all too familiar - the shame, the guilt, the confusion. Because it wasn't some stranger in a dark alley that took advantage of this author, but a friend. Someone she trusted. 
And it's harrowing listening to his side of the story in this novel, especially since there are times when he is manipulating the answer and other times where he openly admits to the assault.
It's a very hard book to read and rate. 
But if you feel comfortable going into this book and experiencing such a story, I encourage you to do it. It is in part cathartic, or at least that's what it felt like to me. 
Definitely heartbreaking but also a testament to the fact that we are not meant to be victims forever. We are survivors.
A stellar book idea and overall so necessary in this world where everything is painted black and white when really, most of what women feel when it comes to this issue is the gray.
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Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was Girl is definitely the most thought provoking book I have read this year.. Jeannie Vanasco is extremely brave write a memoir that leads her to getting back in contact with one of her best friends who raped her. 

The book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before and challenged what I thought I knew about victims of sexual assault.. It shows that no two experiences are the same and that the feeling that victim have after the event can be extremely complicated. It highlights the blame culture that is sometimes associated with victims and  Jeannie herself constantly worries that she’s not angry enough and constantly seems to forgive and accept her rapists behaviour and comments,

The format of the book was also interesting as much of it was transcripts between Jeannie and her rapist. These conversations and the dialogue where Jeannie then analysed these conversations was quite repetitive but I felt it emphasised that no amount of talking could take away what has happened and her experiences.

This is not an easy beach read and I did find that it took me a little longer to read it than I would usually, however, it is definitely worth a read and I would recommend it to anyone who was interested in the #METOO movement and giving the victims of sexual assault a platform to share their experiences.
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This book was hard to read in the sense that the topic it dealt with, rape and sexual assault, is heavy and takes time to process but other than that, it was a pretty easy book to get through.
I especially loved the monologue style of writing the author has used in which she has just put in all her thoughts and feelings into the book, no matter if she thought that they undermined her position so as to give the readers a complete sense of what she went through and still faces today.

This book made me think a lot. There's a lot I haven't seen yet and there's a lot I fail to see even when it is there. This book really helped me grow and understand things from her perspective. 
I usually find it impossible to read such books and hence, try to avoid them since they usually are too heavy for me but somehow, I made it through this one and I am glad I did because it did impact my thinking patterns in a lot of ways. 

Every rape story is different, every victim handles things differently and through this story, I learnt how Jeannie vanasco processed it. 
Every story matters and I am glad to have read this one.
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A brilliant thought-provoking book centring a woman getting back in touch with her rapist.

Told in a brilliantly unique way - we follow Jeannie as she begins to write her book, flesh out the facts and come face to face with her dearest childhood friend, who just so happens to be her rapist.
I laughed, I cried, I  studied my relationship with men and analyzed my own relationship with abuse.

This was a brilliant read. I would recommend to everyone.
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3 for neutral.  I could not finish this book, even though I feel the subject is an important one and needs to be written about and read about.  I just didn’t like the way it was written and it took my attention away from what I was trying to read, making it impossible to get through parts.  I will update review, if it was a mood thing, and I’m able to finally get into it and finish it, but think it may have been more of a writing style issue on my part than the mood I was in at times I tried.
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I received this book for free from NetGalley.

I knew that this would be a hard book to read. It's obviously going to be full of sensitive content. 
Unfortunately I was unable to finish it. 
The content matter was tough, but expected. What I really struggled with was the writing style and constant editing. It felt false with the author editing her own transcript of a conversation, I just couldn't get on with it.
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A tough subject with a very honest real outcome. I don’t know if I could have been that brave or strong to look at never mind have a conversation with anyone who would have attacked me. 
Outstanding writing.
Thank you to both NetGalley and Prelude Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my review
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This was a fascinating, if depressing, book.
Jeannie is a creative writing lecturer who specialises in memoir writing. She recounts a number of students who tell her stories of rape. Some of those have ended badly. But all of them share the common experience of someone taking away an individual’s right to control what happens to them.
There’s no doubt this is a book that will strike a chord with many readers. Some will feel anger, others will empathise...but, I imagine all will feel a sense of amazement at the way this experience is recounted.
We follow Jeannie through a very unusual experience. She decides to write about the man who raped her fourteen years ago. At the time he was a good friend, but they’ve not really spoken since. He is not the only person to have assaulted Jeannie, and he wasn’t the first, but she gets in touch with him to try and talk to him about the experience.
The story itself was not one you’d expect to find pleasant reading, but I was absorbed to follow her process as she creates this book. Sometimes the narrative felt muddled, yet this reflected the subject/feelings with which she was struggling.
I’m still undecided how I feel about the perpetrator of this crime, or her decision to engage with him. However, reading about her experience and the way she/those close to her respond to this was compelling stuff. There’s no easy way to view such crimes when we see who might do such things/see how common it seems to be, but it certainly stops such things being swept under the carpet and blaming victims for their experience.
Thank you to NetGalley for granting me access to this prior to publication.
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This is such an important book. I've never read anything like it - transcripts of a phone conversation between the author and her high school friend who raped her fourteen years earlier. It is an uncomfortable read and I think that's exactly why everyone should read it. I found it uncomfortable when people asked me what I was reading, but that's exactly why books like this need to exist - so that people have these uncomfortable conversations around the widespread issue of sexual assault and rape, particularly by friends or acquaintances.
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Not so much a book as a book about a book. Most of the wordcount is spent on Vanasco wrestling with questions of authorship: how to frame the story, how to portray her rapist, how to portray herself, whether she's using writing techniques to hide from the truth.

This approach will probably frustrate anyone hoping for cathartic fury, but it's the right means to her ends. Vanasco's book isn't really about rape so much as it's about living with trauma, about how we rewrite narratives when our world falls apart. A difficult but unforgettable read.
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This book is a beautiful and one of a kind memoir about sexual assault and friendship between the author and her fellow high school friend. The book is written many years after the time of an incident and shows the impact it had on the author's life as well as the journey to understanding the reasons and psychology behind the assault. During the book, the author describes her thoughts and make contact with the person who was responsible for her trauma. It's a powerful and honest story. I especially enjoyed the moments in which the author fight with herself about her thoughts -  if she should be thinking like that if she is even allowed to.  
The book is pretty unique as it alternates between conversations with her friends, phone calls transcriptions, past memories, and author's thoughts during the time of writing the book.
I would recommend this position to everyone.
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Unfortunately Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl was a DNF for me. I had high hopes for this book so I’m extremely disappointed. I found it incredibly hard to stay engaged, the writing style was just not for me. It was choppy, disjointed and very repetitive. 
It was a brave topic but the execution was lacking, it read more like a Q&A with notes for a book someone plans to write, rather than an actual book.
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This is a book which is particularly relevant today when so many women feel empowered to speak out following the 'Me Too' campaign.  It is a well written powerful memoir and will resonate with many women and for Jeannie obviously a cathartic exercise.  It is tough reading but nonetheless an honest thought provoking book on a difficult subject.   My only criticism is that it is rather over long and meandering in place but it is not a deterrent.
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