Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: Rape Girl

Book Review.

Rape Girl
by Alina Klein.

I always find it hard to review books like this - how do you explain that you 'enjoyed' a book where the subject matter is so distasteful?

Rape Girl is about just that - 16 year old Valerie is raped by the boy she likes. But it's when she tells what happened that her troubles really begin.


There was a great sense of authenticity to the teenage viewpoint in this book. The party, the drinking, the bitchy girls in the bathroom, the all felt very 'now' and very realistic. Sadly, the rape itself and the way in which is occurred is all too realistic too.

I liked how the author handles the attack itself - it's not violent, there are no marks, no weapon, no stranger on a dark night. It's someone she knows, likes even, trusts. It's a really important message to girls out there - this is what rape looks like too - if you say NO that should be enough. I liked how that was covered again when Valerie joins the support group. There are no graphic descriptions of the act itself which I think worked well - the book focuses on what happens after, and how Valerie stays true to herself.

The way in which Valerie is treated after everyone finds out, the rallying around the perpetrator instead of the victim, the bullying, and the lack of justice make for a powerful social commentary. "Rape is the only crime where a victim has to prove her innocence" is a line that will stay with me forever.

This would make an excellent topic/ discussion piece for teenagers, boys and girls.

There are a couple of areas where I felt the book could have been strengthened. The first person narrative needed a more powerful emotional connect with the audience. While at times it was possible to make some conclusions about her emotions (body language) I would have liked to have seen more of Valerie's feeling and emotions within the text too. Lots of things happen to her, but we don't often get to see her emotional response to them. The only part of the entire book when I teared up a little is when her brother loses it. I should have been feeling that level of response to Valerie's emotions.

While this story is about Valerie's rape and the aftermath, it is also a story about strength, being true to yourself, and about what it means to be courageous. In a genre full of teenage insta-love and HEA it is refreshing to see an author be brave with important issues - both in the subject matter and in the title. I also really love the cover (seems a shallow comment to make, but covers are important too!)

It's a quick read, but one that will stay with me for a long time. A good book, that with some more emotional connect could have been a great book. 3.5 stars

With thanks to netgalley and namelos.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

12 shawls in 2012

I wasn't going to do 12 shawls in 2012 but somehow have found myself with 7 completed shawls already and another on the needles. I managed 13 last year. So I guess....I may as well.

Included in the 7 are:

The purple Isabelle I blogged about here.

A TGV made in super-soft silk/merino from American indie-dyer Fresh from the Cauldron. I think this is my favourite 'to wear' shawl I've ever made (or at least a very close second to my hitchhiker). The yarn was a special fundraiser for a writer friend who lost her home when a tree fell on it during Hurricane Irene. The pattern was a prize I won in the 11 shawls in 2011 end of year giveaway so this shawl is pretty special to me for those reasons. I also love how soft it is to wear, how it drapes just nicely, and is the perfect combination of shawl and scarf. It's a lovely mindless and fast knit that almost seems to knit itself.

My prize was actually the entire train lovers ebook by Susan Ashcroft-Hempsell aka stitchnerd and I have plans to make some of the other patterns too (when time permits of course). After joining the stitchnerd group on Ravelry I also signed up to test one of stitchnerd's new patterns - beautiful cobweb.

This was another seriously fast knit (4 days) with a super easy lace border. These shawls are a really nice wearable shape, and would be perfect for someone new to shawl knitting. There's nothing complicated about the garter body or the edging and the end result is so pretty! I gave this one to my auntie for her birthday and knit it from Tri'Coterie silver sock in the "Snow" colourway we did in November with the Game of Thrones yarns.

I made another birthday present, this time for Maylin who is the brains behind Tri'Coterie. After lots of 4ply I wanted to try a worsted weight shawl and I had some pretty pink Malabrigo I thought she might like (colour = hollyhock).

I've tended not to knit shawls with a lace body, simply because Im usually knitting while reading, watching TV, doing stuff with kids  and need a ratio of mostly brainless vs a little bit of concentrating, so this was a bit of a change for me. 5mm needles and this one flew off the needles too. Officially it is not enough yardage to count for 12 shawls in 2012 , but I might count in my own unofficial count. It's pretty small - more kerchief than shawl, but I hope it will useful for draping over shoulders while reading in bed. It's lovely and soft and I think the colour really made the lace pop.

And the last one for today's show and tell is a Haruni. She is stunning. Knit in totally luxurious camel/silk this was a dream to knit and it's hard to really convey how lovely and soft this shawl is. It's the type of shawl I want to wear with my very best black dress and go somewhere fancy fancy. In all probability this means she'll never get worn, destined for a lonely life of 'just for best' . Perhaps I could just take her out periodically, just to admire.

Close up of the border because...gasp...I did the loopy bits with a crochet hook!!

So yes 7 down (2 I can't show just yet) , and only 5 more to go, and a few months to do it :) I should be fine I think!

What's your favourite shawl pattern?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FO: Wrenna

A couple of years ago I came across a knitting book called "French Girl Knits" at my library. I fell in love with one particular pattern called Wrenna. But like so often happens here, the required yarn ( a super bulky yarn knit on super thick needles) wasn't something easy to source or find. I put it to the back of my very long list of 'one day I would like to make' list and moved on.

My LYS is actually a quilt shop - a delightful little cottage full of delicious fabrics and other pretty things (often feel thankful I don't sew as I could see myself spending a fortune otherwise!) - and she also stocks a few knitting yarns. With the colder weather encroaching she decided to include Big Wool in her next Rowan order...

And that was when I remembered Wrenna.

Three balls of Rowan Big Wool and three days of knitting and I finally got the Wrenna I had wanted for so long.

I really love how this turned out. The knitting is not hard, but on 12.75mm needles it's also not that easy either. A bit like knitting with broom handles! I love how the lace looks in the super bulky yarn though - worth the struggles to see how soft and lofty this knit up.

I've worn it a couple of times already. Once with my glam brooch over a summer dress, and again more casually over jeans. It's perfect for this time of year when the weather can't seem to make up its mind and layering pieces are ideal. I love how it can be both dressy and casual, and I will definitely be wearing it lots this winter.