Missoula by Jon Krakauer

 

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Rate: 4/5


Medium: Audiobook


Overview (No Spoilers):

I have delayed writing a review for Missoula for almost a week and a half now. Rarely have I read a book that incites such a wide array of emotions, majority of which falling in the negative spectrum, i.e., anger, annoyance, helplessness, sadness. With that being said, I tend to avoid reading materials, TV shows, or movies that provoke the aforementioned feelings, much rather spending my time immersed in the predictable, blissful, cheesy action movie. I picked up Missoula when I was in between audiobook holds and needed something to fill the space. Having thoroughly enjoyed Krakauer’s other books, Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, I went into Missoula knowing that I would be highly uncomfortable with the subject matter but would likely enjoy the writing style of the author. Missoula discusses the prevalence of rape in a college town, specifically highlighting several instances of heartbreaking stories, alongside confronting myths regarding this heinous act that are prevalent throughout society. As someone who is a huge college football fan, I was embarrassed upon self-reflection that my initial reaction to the majority of high profile rape scandals has been to immediately doubt the victim. After reading Missoula that will no longer be the case, with Krakauer having successfully illustrating the lost notion that there is always a person behind the nameless victim. This book, while being difficult to read from a content standpoint, is well worth reading due its thought provoking nature regarding a terrible act that goes unreported as much as 80% of the time. Most shocking to me was the number of callous and ignorant people who held influential positions that interact with rape victims attempting to report the crime. The specific actions of now County Attorney Kirsten Pabst had me seeing red. While I realize Krakauer told this book from the perspective of the victims, I have a very hard time finding a viewpoint in which Pabst’s actions could reasonably be excused away. I spent the next day in a Google wormhole researching Pabst and the trials focused upon in Missoula, ultimately making me even more upset with every passing article. Overall, this book will haunt me for a long time to come and has opened my eyes regarding a subject that I had never made an effort to truly think about before.


 

 

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12 comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve had this one on my “to-read” stack for a bit. I have a love/hate relationship with Krakauer’s writing; I think he is a hugely gifted writer who finds fascinating subjects, but he sacrifices his objectivity to make sure the reader is bludgeoned into his point of view. At any rate, I find reading his work leaves me with a complex mess of thoughts and feelings, sometimes occurring days or months later. Especially with such an emotional subject, I’ve not yet been in a mood to read this. Your review makes me want to pick it up sooner rather than later.

    My alma mater, Vanderbilt, is currently experiencing the shock waves of a rape by members of the football team, likely with more knowledge and cover-up by the athletic department and administration than has been made known so far. I hope someone with Krakauer’s tenacity undertakes a similar investigation into the Vanderbilt rape…

    One of the things that boggles my mind about rape at colleges and universities is how often the investigation into allegations is made by the administration and/or campus police rather than a law enforcement body, and how prone to misuse that is. Colleges have clearly sought to avoid negative publicity by handling them internally, and campus police are answerable first and foremost to the administration rather than the citizens who live in the jurisdiction. I’ve also heard of cases where a university investigation has botched the potential for prosecution due to mishandling of evidence, failure to follow proper procedures when questioning witnesses/suspects/victims, and other blunders.

    I especially think the point is valid that you make about how rape can often seem distant and impersonal because it happens to a nameless victim. It’s disgusting that we have the ability to remove ourselves from such a heinous act.

    Like

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