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Thursday, June 21, 2018

#allthebookreviews: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn @ambertamblyn @harperperennial

Any Man
by Amber Tamblyn

Thank you so much to Harper Perennial for this intense, eye opening and powerful book.

Jessica and I both gave this 5 full stars - continue below to get our full thoughts.

Publisher:  Harper Perennial
Publish Date: June 26, 2018
288 pages
Genre:  Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:

In her blazingly original and unforgettable debut novel Any Man, Amber Tamblyn brings to startling life a specter of sexual violence in the shadowy form of Maude, a female serial rapist who preys on men.

In this electric and provocative debut novel, Tamblyn blends genres of poetry, prose, and elements of suspense to give shape to the shocking narratives of victims of sexual violence, mapping the destructive ways in which our society perpetuates rape culture.

A violent serial rapist is on the loose, who goes by the name Maude. She hunts for men at bars, online, at home— the place doesn’t matter, neither does the man. Her victims then must live the aftermath of their assault in the form of doubt from the police, feelings of shame alienation from their friends and family and the haunting of a horrible woman who becomes the phantom on which society projects its greatest fears, fascinations and even misogyny. All the while the police are without leads and the media hound the victims, publicly dissecting the details of their attack.
What is extraordinary is how as years pass these men learn to heal, by banding together and finding a space to raise their voices. Told in alternating viewpoints signature to each voice and experience of the victim, these pages crackle with emotion, ranging from horror to breathtaking empathy.

As bold as it is timely, Any Man paints a searing portrait of survival and is a tribute to those who have lived through the nightmare of sexual assault.

My Review:

You ever start reading a book and know immediately that it was going to be something different than what you've ever read before?  That you know you're going to get gut punched and deepen that line between your eyes from the intense face you make as you turn each page?  Yeah, that's what happened here.

Amber Tamblyn uses a variety of writing styles here to bring you a story that's not about the victimizer, but about the victims.  She takes us deep into their minds in the aftermath of their horrible incidents and we see how they try to feel whole again.  We are taken into their random thoughts...  how these situations occur and then she takes us further in showing how society and the media help to perpetuate the rape culture in America.  All of this is done in a various styles: poetry, tweets, chat boxes, interviews, journal entries, emails.... and every single one of these hits you right in the solar plexus.  

We hear ALL the time how a woman shouldn't have worn that short skirt or dressed herself up like that if she didn't want the attention.  How she was just asking for it.  In this novel, we hear about how he shouldn't have gotten drunk at the bar while his wife was at home with the kids.  What was he thinking?  STOP VICTIMIZING THE VICTIMS FURTHER.  How many of you think men CAN'T get raped? Why do we, as a society, blame the victim, use them as the story of the day and then toss them aside when something more horrifying comes alone?

This book puts you into the mind of the survivors.  How they will have to live with this for the rest of their lives and how by using each other as a support group, you can eventually, hopefully, more forward.  I went through a roller coaster of emotions as I read this.  It hit me HARD and left quite the imprint.

Equally horrifying, eye opening and heart breaking, this book is INTENSE.  Tamblyn clearly knows how to write and this debut will leave you reeling.  This won't be an easy read for some readers, but it's a necessary one.


Jessica's Review:

I'll start out by saying that this is a very intense read. This will not be for everyone because it depicts the physical, mental, and emotional aftermath of rape and sexual assault. ANY MAN by Amber Tamblyn is one that I definitely won't be forgetting any time soon, and not just because of the topic. Her writing style is so unique and original, while it did take a chapter or two to get used to, I absolutely loved it.
We follow the stories of 5 men that all have one thing in common - they all fell victim to the same female rapist. This book takes a look into rape culture and how the public sees and treats the victims of these horrible crimes. I will say that this is the first book to actually get some kind of emotional reaction out of me. I got so frustrated with a few parts and things that people were saying in response to these crimes, but I'll leave that for you to read!
This was told through the eyes of each character, journal entries, transcripts, poetry, and online chats (mainly OkCupid and Twitter). The chapters aren't clearly marked by the names of the characters, but they each have such strong voices and stories that it is very easy to know who is the narrator.
ANY MAN is emotionally raw, harsh, and unapologetic. While the attacks are the focus of the story, we also get to see how these men begin to overcome these terrible crimes. They are survivors and find ways to cope and help each other. I hope to see more fiction in the future from Amber Tamblyn and can't wait to hear what others think of this one. Definitely an engrossing and intense read that you won't quickly forget about.
I give this 5/5 stars!

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