14 Nov 2010
Review: "Inexcusable" - When good guys do bad things
Another day, another YA read. I don't know what it is about me but these days I am really in a YA mood, reading all young adult books to come my way :-) In my mailbox this week, yesterday actually, I got "Inexcusable" by Chris Lynch which I ordered after reading "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson as this book tackles the same difficult topic. Date rape. This is a topic that I think is really important and I commend these writers for dealing with it and making it approachable for teens.
In "Speak" we heard the story of Melinda who was date raped and suffered from a depression as she failed to cope with the emotional turmoil that the assault left her in.
In "Inexcusable" we meet Keir Sarafian, a senior at the local high school, a prominent football player and allround good guy. At least this is how he sees himself - but just like Eva in "We Need to Talk About Kevin", Keir insight into his own personality and he reflections on his own actions are lacking... To say the least. As Keir sees it, he is a the American Good Guy. He has come to fame in the local community after a game in which he - accidentally, maybe - hurt a player from the opposite badly. He lives in perfect bachelorhood with his dad, as his sisters Fran and Mary have left for college and he has a teenage crush on Gigi Boudakian.
However, the book alternates between scenes from a room, a situation where Gigi is accusing Keir of having raped her, and the past few months leading up to this where Keir argues his case. He is a good guy. And good guys do not rape the girls they have a crush on.
This book was a really quick read. It is written for teens and the language and the style is perfect for this segment. If I had read this when I was 13, I would have been so crazy about it and I have to say that I am impressed by the way that Lynch handles this subject. The story line is a difficult one - it is not a main character that you easily find yourself liking but somehow, despite all his flaws, Keir is quite likeable. He is a spoiled kid with a bad grip on reality and no understanding of himself or his actions but he is not mean.
I will save this books and give it to a teen someday. It is a really good YA read in the sense that it does not condescend, it understands and explains. If you are an English teacher teaching 13-15 year olds, this is a great read to introduce them to, just as "Speak" is.