Title: All The Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
“Because “slut” was just too humanizing, I guess. A slit’s not even a person.”
All the Rage is a painfully brutal, and horrifically realistic story of a young girl, Romy, who is brutally raped by the town’s golden boy, and then told it didn’t happen.
This book is far too complex to fully discuss here, but I wanted to chat through a few points that got to me the most:
Romy wears her red lipstick and nail polish as armour
- The repetitive nature of these sections reflect Romy’s slip into OCD tendencies
- Her ‘armour’ is applied to areas where she needs to guard, her mouth and hands, both areas of expression
- When her lipstick is smudged and her nails are chipped she feels at her most vulnerable
- The choice of red is interesting as it is usually associated with prostitution or the term ‘whore’. Is Romy taking back power? Or does she feel that she deserves to wear ‘whore red’?
- Her love interest, Leon, tells her that he was drawn to her because of the red; her defense mechanism is actually drawing men towards her?
Romy hates herself
I think this was the hardest part to read, second only to the rape scene.
- She feels worthless; “I wish I didn’t have a body, sometimes”
- Won’t let herself wear pretty underwear; ‘If something happens- I don’t want to be wearing it”
- Wishes Caro’s baby isn’t a girl
- Romy is actually kinder to Jane the mannequin than she is to herself
- She knows what happened is wrong, but her whole world is telling her she asked for it thus making her feel worthless.
All. The. Rage.
- The violence behind the rape is truly horrifying
- Romy suppresses her feelings, and then she snaps. The violent outburst is a relief for both Romy and the reader as you get just as angry that this could even be happening…
- The violent aspect of women-kind is finally being recognised
- Romy’s rage is palpable but feels legitimised here? But, is that wrong?
- She is indirectly defending her honour, because nobody else will?
- Is this a story of PTSD, and what happens when it is not recognized?
- She’s externally silent, but internally she is screaming
Nobody believes her
- It is so painful to read that nobody believes her, and worse, they bully her because of her ‘lies’
- A small town is an easy catalyst for victim blaming/not believing due to such close relationships
- The destructive repercussions of this on a person’s perception of themselves
- Warning: this book does not offer closure at the end and justice is not served.
This poetic, can’t-breath-whilst-reading story truly captivated me and hurt me and made me feel a tiny bit hopeless, but that was the point, right? Courtney Summers is finally standing up for Romy when nobody else did.