Welcome back for a brand new review. That’s right! I’ve finished my 3 part review on Betrayal, covering the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. I’m moving on to my next review. So what am I reviewing this time:
Any Man by Amber Tamblyn
Before I get into my review, I would like to issue a **TRIGGER WARNING** for descriptions of sexual assault and rape. My review will have limited, if any, descriptions. However, the book itself has several. Please be aware of that before delving into the work.
For those who don’t recognize the name Amber Tamblyn, think Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Yup, that was her playing Tibby. In fact, I can almost see Tibby writing this book as much as I can see Amber. Probably because I am a bit more familiar with Tibby after reading the book and watching the movie. I only know Amber from what I have heard about her in the news, which isn’t a lot in recent years.
Anyway, she wrote a book. It is a book that tackles some pretty heavy subject matter: sexual assault of men by a woman. This novels follows the experiences of several different men who are assaulted by the same woman. She calls herself Maude and she is a violent serial rapist. The back cover of the book sums up her horrific actions by saying:
She hunts for men at bars and online – the place doesn’t matter, neither does the man.
This book has an interesting mix of writing mediums. It includes prose and poetry, some chat room talks and even email correspondence. These different mediums add another layer to the story. It gives it a different feel than the expected story telling style. It captures how people live through things in unexpected ways by sharing the thoughts, disjointed or not, that go through the character’s minds.
There are scenes that are difficult to read, especially those that include descriptions of sexual assault, but I imagine that is the point of the novel. It points out things about our society that are hard to imagine and places the reader in the mind of someone who has gone through it. Not only that, but it moves through out time as the survivors try to move forward.
As the main players are all male, there is a variation from the story that we most often hear in the mainstream media. It is a necessary switch though. There are still people out there who believe that men can’t be the victims of sexual assault, something that is completely based on the misogynist set of ideals that say women are weaker and could never force or convince a man do something. The other side of it is that men should feel “lucky” to have a woman want them that much.
Both of those are utter crap, of course. Women can prey on others just like men can. And men have every single right to say no or not want sexual contact. The book does a good job at flipping the script on the usual narrative, showing that men can be victimized as much as women can.
The book catches the true issue in the quote below:
Let me be emphatically clear: They. Do. Not. Care. About. Us. People who live through sexual assault are a crash on the side of the road, and the American media is nothing more than cars slowing down just long enough to take a peek. Just long enough to take a picture before speeding off to their next fatality.
~ Page 237
For some reason, our media sees these survivors as just another story, ignoring that they are humans. They move from story to story exactly like the quote says above. It is a frustrating truth that causes more damage to those who have already been through too much.
Overall, the novel is engaging between all its different mediums and the story line. If you are thinking about checking out something new, this is a good start.
You can purchase Any Man here.
Have you read this book? What did you think? How do you feel about its narrative on sexual assault? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing all of your thoughts.