Reviewed by Joseph Walters
Talk about a punch in the gut.
Author R. Read thrusts herself into the middle of an important conversation with her debut novel She Too. This book weaves the #metoo conversation into a page-turning mystery and proves to be something truly special.
At the beginning of She Too, Frankie is living her best life. She’s got good friends, plenty of drinks, and good-looking guys wanting to be around her. But on Thursday night, she’s got her eyes set only on Beau, an attractive boater whose team is throwing a house party. Why don’t you come through?
“Beau is mine tonight.” Frankie gulps the liquid then grips the lime with her front teeth to suck out the chaser. “Audrey fuckin Hepburn’s got nothin’ on me.”
Then, all of the sudden, it’s Friday. Frankie wakes up naked in another guy’s bed. Her whole body hurts. Something hazy is going on in her mind.
She Too thrives in multiple aspects. First, its fast-paced, accessible nature. The reader continues turning the pages to find out what happened to Frankie, who did it to her, and what ever became of the girl in the red dress. Something about mattresses in the backyard. A broken arm. A hospital.
“Should we believe her? Can she prove it? Does that matter to anyone?”
She Too is told through multiple points of view. From victims to suspects to investigators and police, each new perspective sheds light on this horrific situation that Thursday. The reader gets to know each relevant character involved in the mystery in short snippets of family life, history, and dialogue. And spoiler alert: not everybody understands the breadth of what happened.
The only flaw in this otherwise thought-provoking and powerful new novel is its occasionally over-the-top characterization. The reader is met with plenty of vulgarity and sexually aberrant conversation. While that may feel true in some cases, this book can go a bit too far sometimes. We understand why the characters are portrayed like this, since the author aims to shed light on the mistreatment of the situation, but sometimes, the villains in She Too are so inhumane that it is actually a bit hard to believe.
She Too does succeed in bringing women together and showing that these conversations cannot be swept under the rug. Its powerful message of togetherness and strength comes through clearly and perfectly.
So if you are looking for a #metoo novel, then look no further. This book could get everybody talking, from book clubs to college students. It may be a bit graphic and uncomfortable at times for those who have endured similar issues, but if you are ready to approach this issue, you’ll be all the more grateful that you opened it.
Because we need to hear these things.
And we need to keep talking.
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