Part memoir, part legal/true crime, Krouse details the work she did as a private detective on a landmark case involving sexual assault in the collegiate football arena. Over the course of several years, her work uncovered survivors, witnesses, and documentation needed to tackle not just the inappropriate behavior of students and the administration that hushed it all up, but the issue of women’s safety as a civil right. Mixed throughout her work on the case is her own personal history of child abuse.
I’m in two minds about this book, because it’s essentially two books mixed together. First, I thought the legal case aspects and the investigation was interesting. That’s what I chose the book for. Second, I wish the memoir portions had been left out. I know they were subject-related, and of course part of the author’s own mental health while investigating the case, but I’m not a fan of memoirs and this one was no exception. If the memoir had had some bearing on the legal case, it would have been different, but making this book part memoir instead made the case part of Krouse’s story, and honestly, that felt a little distasteful for me. In the end, those two pieces of the book really canceled each other out, making the book just okay.
A few things stuck out for me by the end: This was another extremely timely read, and it was especially ironic because Neil f*cking Gorsuch was one member of the panel of judges that finally got this case off the ground. There’s this discussion in the book about how everyone was surprised that Gorsuch would actually stick up for women’s rights, and it’s obviously now that him doing so was an absolute fluke, since he – along with other parts of SCOTUS – just sent women back into the realm of chattel last week. Those football players raping and abusing women at the center of this book’s case? They can now force their victims to have their babies. Yay.
(Can you tell that I’m still really angry? Good. Fellow warriors, stay angry! And if you don’t like it, no one says you have to read my blog.)
TW: all manner of abuse, assault, and sexual violence, as you might imagine from the book description
Performance: This audiobook was narrated by Gabra Zackman, my first experience with her. Personally, I thought she read the book well enough that I kept forgetting that it wasn’t her firsthand account. I’m not a fan of authors reading their own books about 90% of the time, but occasionally, I come across a narrator that sounds as if they’re the author reading their book well, and this was one of those cases. I enjoyed it. On the other hand, you might give the audio a preview listen before purchasing, because at one point, Jason overheard me listening, and while he wasn’t close enough to hear the words, he thought I was listening to a Tiktok vid with text-to-speech. A sort of robotic almost-human voice. I didn’t feel that way myself, but again, just preview before buying!