Review: These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

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Published November 7,  2017 by Griffith Moon

“In a single-sex school, a girl can comprehend her value and her capabilities in ways that have nothing to do with how she looks or whom she dates. She can be free to experiment and explore, trying out new things and trying on new roles. She can follow her ambitions without wasting a second thought or backward glance on how her male counterparts might perceive her. “

–National Coalition of girls’ Schools

 Investigative journalist, Jane March arrives home, exhausted after a long day. However, after reading an email from her current intern, Caryn, Jane’s tiredness is instantly forgotten. Caryn Rodgers is a USC journalism student and has just started interning for Jane. The email is about an essay Caryn has written, a personal essay about something that happened years ago when she attended Windemere, an elite all-girls school. Caryn has written about something happened with a teacher that he was never punished for.

 “Since finishing her first draft, my appetite has magically disappeared, and I know I won’t be sleeping well tonight, either. I guess even money can’t protect you from certain things.”

The teacher is, Dr. Gregory Copeland. Dr. Copeland has worked at Windemere School for Girls for many years. He’s popular with everyone…the staff, parents, and the students. He’s a married father of two and is currently chair of the English department at Windemere. However, Dr. Copeland is also a predator and has been using his position of power to take advantage of his young students for many years.

At first, Caryn isn’t sure if she wants to publicly name him. She knows her parents won’t be thrilled that she’s going public with this.

Jane gets a little pushback at first from some of her co-workers about publishing Caryn’s essay, but she quickly puts an end to that.

 “Don’t you find it interesting that these crimes against women – whether it’s violence, sexual assault, rape – are the only kinds where we force the victim to make a case about their own innocence before even investigating?”

After the article is published, other former students come forward with their own allegations against Copeland. Two alumnae join up with Jane and Caryn and are determined to do something about Dr. Copeland. Will they be successful? Will Dr. Gregory Copeland finally get what’s coming to him? And what about the others that were complicit in keeping some of his secrets? Will they be brought to task as well?

I was really excited to get my hands on this novel. The description was intriguing and the beautiful cover didn’t hurt either. “These Violent Delights” wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This was a thought-provoking read that I read in just two sittings.

It’s scary how relevant and realistic the issues in this novel are and how often these things still happen. I don’t feel like anything was exaggerated or written for sensationalism. This novel highlights the failure of those involved in protecting young women. In what is supposed to be a safe place, they were targeted by a predator for years, where he was free to continue teaching and grooming even more young girls.

We also see what happens when social media gets involved in cases like this, often blaming the victims and/or offering excuses for the accused.

The story is told from multiple points of view. There were a few times that I got mixed up and wasn’t sure whose point of view I was reading, but for the most part, I was able to keep things straight. These characters were well-written and my heart broke for them as I read about the long-term and lasting effects the abuse had on them.

Victoria Namkung has written a very realistic, relevant, and timely novel. At times it really felt like I was reading a non-fiction book. It has a powerful message and also tells an interesting story.

Thank you to Griffith Moon for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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9 thoughts on “Review: These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

  1. […] This review on Dee’s Rad Reads And Reviews of novel These Violents Delights by Victoria Namkung hit pretty close for me this week since I recently found out that an English teacher who used to teach at my high school in Milan years ago was recently fired from his job at another foreign American School for inappropriate sexual behavior with teenage students. I had heard rumors of similar actions on his part at my school back then though I luckily never experienced it first hand, but the news still came as a shock. I think reading this novel might prove cathartic for me. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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