The most obvious audience for this book is people who have been directly affected by sexual assault. I think this book could help both victims and the people close to them with processing their feelings and seeing that they are not alone — especially friends and family members of rape victims, since there aren’t many books about the guilt, shame, and helplessness they often experience. One of the most important audiences for this book, nevertheless, is the general population of adolescents and young adults. Sadly, many people aren’t even sure what constitutes rape, and I think reading this book would be an excellent way to broach the subject with adolescents and young adults as a part of a comprehensive sex education program. Fault Line provides an opportunity to explore and discuss the concept of consensual sex vs. rape and also provides some valuable insight into some common, yet widely varied, reactions of victims of sexual assault. Though there are some people who complain that there are “too many rape books” out there, I disagree. Each one provides a different perspective into what is still a very big problem in our society. Perhaps if Laurie Halse Anderson‘s Speak weren’t so relevant almost 20 years after it was first published, I might think those critics had a leg to stand on.
Ben’s life was bordering on perfect when he and Ani first got together. Not only was he a popular jock whose swimming had him on the fast track to a scholarship, but his family was so well-adjusted as to be freakish. Ani made him happier than he had ever been… and then something happened at a party. Ben didn’t go to the party, so now he blames himself for what happened. But, what did happen? Some people started saying that Ani got drunk and willingly slept with a bunch of guys. The biggest problem, for Ben, is that Ani doesn’t seem to remember much, and she is all too willing to both believe the rumors and to blame herself. Still, her friend Kate, who was at the party, was certain that Ani must have been drugged and that the resulting sexual encounter could not have been consensual. The only complaint I have is that some of the discussions between Ben and Ani’s advocate [from the ER] seemed a bit too clinical and didactic — although it’s entirely possible that conversations such as that would be kept clinical in real life. (Fortunately, I don’t have any experiences to compare to the story.)