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Publisher's Summary

"It’s hard to overstate the importance of this gorgeous, harrowing, heartbreaking book, which tackles sexual violence and its aftermath while also articulating the singular pain of knowing - or loving, or caring for, or having a history with - one’s rapist. Vanasco is whip-smart and tender, open and ruthless; she is the perfect guide through the minefield of her trauma, and ours."--Carmen Maria Machado in Bustle

A Most Anticipated Book of Fall at Time, NYLON, Bustle, Pacific Standard, The Millions, Publishers Weekly, Chicago Tribune and more!

Jeannie Vanasco has had the same nightmare since she was a teenager. She startles awake, saying his name. It is always about him: one of her closest high school friends, a boy named Mark. A boy who raped her.

When her nightmares worsen, Jeannie decides - after fourteen years of silence - to reach out to Mark. He agrees to talk on the record and meet in person. "It's the least I can do," he says.

Jeannie details her friendship with Mark before and after the assault, asking the brave and urgent question: Is it possible for a good person to commit a terrible act? Jeannie interviews Mark, exploring how rape has impacted his life as well as her own. She examines the language surrounding sexual assault and pushes against its confines, contributing to and deepening the #MeToo discussion.

Exacting and courageous, Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl is part memoir, part true crime record, and part testament to the strength of female friendships - a recounting and reckoning that will inspire us to ask harder questions and interrogate our biases. Jeannie Vanasco examines and dismantles long-held myths of victimhood, discovering grace and power in this genre-bending investigation into the trauma of sexual violence.

©2019 Jeannie Vanasco (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Wanted to like, but just annoyed

I was excited to starts this book because I had just completed several amazing memoirs and graphic memoirs. The premise of this memoir is awesome, but I could not get through the book. The narrator’s voice annoyed me, the book read like an unedited diary, and there was too much repetition of the same thought or idea.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing self awareness

The author addresses a topic that is never easy to discuss but nevertheless necessary for us to evolve. The story is a narrative centered on the confrontation with the man who abused her and with the conflict she experiences within herself as she reconciles her past and her present.

The book will likely trigger anyone with similar trauma in their past. For those without comparable events, you get a first hand account of her path from processing the assault, to processing her life relative to the assault and finally the resolution (if it could be called that).

There is a genuinely complex individual cover to cover.

My only criticisms are that the narration, at times, sounds like a millennial art history major rather than an accomplished university faculty member.
Also the caustic nature of the character Sara(h) took away from the credibility of the author. Sara so clearly has an axe to grind and she gets in the authors head to make her question some of her conclusions.



1 person found this helpful

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Voice actors making this difficult to get through

I applaud Vanasco's bravery. However, whomever has hired Amy McFadden to read this text needs to send Vanasco flowers and a lot of money because the affected melodrama of the reading completely ruins the heartfelt seeking this book wishes to accomplish, (and probably does successfully in book-form.) McFadden's over the top inflections and unsuccessful attempts to conjure emotion and energy surrounding this very serious subject plays out like a valley girl trying to narrate Virginia Woolf. If I didn't need this book in audio form for my own research, I'd stop listening immediately.

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Good intentions

It was harder for me to pick up where I left off when the time line jumped back and forth as quick as it did.
I like that others in the story came out and confided in her. And that she came around to the severity of being violated, no matter the extent.

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Tired of people always giving their Political views

I started to enjoy this book. Because I could relate somewhat to it. And I understand her relating our president to her issue. But I’m so tired of authors, celebrities always pushing their political opinions on the public. Stick to your issue and leave politics out. I didn’t finish the book and will be returning it because of it.

3 people found this helpful