Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review/The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Some schools have honor codes. Others have handbooks. Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds. When Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

While Daisy Whitney’s debut novel The Mockingbirds, deserves applauds for dealing with the difficult issue of date rape, and I felt that much of the discussion surrounding this issue was dealt with great sensitivity, there were aspects of the book that I did have trouble accepting.

At first, Alex’s voice left me cold. Yes, Alex is a victim, and never dealing with such a horrifying experience myself, I tried to step into Alex’s shoes and wonder exactly how my personality would change, if in fact, I awoke naked in a guy’s bed without any knowledge of how I got there or what took place. Certainly, a very scary situation. Alex’s first concern, however, was getting back to her dorm without being seen fearful that the rumors about her  would spread around campus.

I also got that Alex’s memory of the incident is impaired by the fact that she was drunk, and as she tries to piece together everything that happened, as many victims of abuse often do, she blames herself. Consequently, instead of going to the police she chooses to ignore it until her friends convince her to go to the Mockingbirds, a student run organization that investigates, tries, and punishes other students’ wrongful acts.

As the story unfolds, Alex did grow on me. I began to accept the way she chose to deal with the situation even though I did not agree with it. I also found that Whitney’s message about rape: “no” means “no” and an absence of a “yes” does not equal a “yes” was unequivocally clear.  On the flip side, I fear that Whitney inadvertently is sending the message that talking with adults is not helpful since the whole reason for the Mockingbirds is that Themis Academy turns a blind eye to problems that will show the school in a bad light.  It also may give the wrong impression that vigilante justice is a viable, even acceptable option.

The Mockingbirds, however, is a very engaging and compelling read. Once I began the book, I read nonstop.  I loved that Alex was able to let Martin in and trust that not all guys are jerks like Carter. I also envied Alex’s ability to lose herself in her music, and I was happy that Whitney did not take this part of Alex’s personality and allow the rape to taint it. Whitney takes a difficult issue and shines a spotlight on it, so the reader can examine it from several distinct angles. We see the effect date rape has on the victim, the need to extract justice as a way to heal, and how teenage drinking leads to a lot more than a hangover. The Mockingbirds  is powerful enough to open the door to discussion about all these issues and more. 






15 comments:

Ladybug said...

Great review :) This doesn't sound like my usual read but I have to step out of my comfort zone every now and then. It certainly addresses an important topic.

Nomes said...

another great review jan

i'm planning on reading this one - prob when it is out in paperback :) (or in Australia - may bot come out here though). I think I'll have to be in the right mood for it though.

x

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great review! Rape is a very difficult thing to write about, I think, or read about, but if it's dealt well, I would give it a chance. I totally get your point about vigilante justice. But this book seems to deliver a difficult topic well. I'm tempted to read it. I've only read one rape story so far, and it was a weird experience, but if I go there again, I'll definitely check out this novel. Thanks very much for the review!

Jamie said...

Great review! I've seen this book posted about on several blogs that I frequent and now I'm adding it to my wishlist.

Jamie
http://jamielovesya.blogspot.com

Sarah said...

oh, I just finished this yesterday and I LOVE it. It was just awesome.. :)

Melissa said...

Great review, Jan! I enjoyed this one, though I had a few minor qualms with it...you definitely made great points :)

Mardel said...

This sounds like a intense book. I think I want to read it.

I sent you an e-mail, asking for some book recommendations for a teacher. Keep your eye out for it? the e-mail is under my other name though :) (Wanda)

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Thanks for the honest and balanced review. This one sounds like an intense read, and one I'm definitely interested in checking out soon.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I totally agree. I accepted her decision to deal with her rape in the way that she did, but I do not agree with it. I hope that no one decides to let a rape or sexual assault go unreported, even if there's a feeling that adults/ authorities may not be there to listen.

Thanks for sharing your review.

Aylee said...

I agree, I don't think it was right for her not to approach an adult in this situation. Then again what do I know? Thankfully, I've never been in this position before so I can't know for sure how I would feel about it. Thanks for the review.

Lily Child said...

Great review! I've seen reviews on this one here and there. Yours really piqued my interest! Thanks! :)

Julie said...

Love your honest review. I ordered this book because it's not my usual type of read. I wanted to try something different. I'm glad that you liked it and I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I've had my eye on this book for awhile. The idea of students trying to take control of their lives by literally judging their peers is interesting. I can't wait to read it myself. Glad you enjoyed it!

thebookfairyhaven said...

What a wonderfully, honest and thought-provoking review Jan. I dare say that rape is by no means an easy subject to talk about, much less write about, but it definitely sounds as if this is one of those books that everyone should certainly read. I'll be on the lookout for this and will be sure to keep your comments in mind regarding this read.

Ava said...

Great review. I'm not sure if I'll like this one, but I want to read it because I've read so much about it. Thanks for your opinion!

 
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