OUR GUYS by Bernard Lefkowitz


The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb
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 A scathing indictment of the seemingly paradisiacal town of Glen Ridge, N.J., which bred the young men who brutally raped a retarded teenager--and have yet to pay the price for it. Edgar-winning author Lefkowitz (Tough Change: Growing Up on Your Own In America, 1987, etc.) began his research by attending the graduation ceremonies of Glen Ridge's class of 1989, which included four young men who had recently been arrested on rape charges. At post-graduation parties the men were greeted, according to Lefkowitz, ``like returning warriors . . . martyred heros.'' Not present was the young woman, known to her many of her violators since kindergarten. She had been lured into a basement where, among other acts of violence, a a baseball bat was inserted into her vagina. Although only four men were ultimately tried for the crime, at least nine others were present during some part of the assault. The girl, threatened with retaliation if she told, was slow to reveal the story. It was three months before it began to leak out to authorities. Lefkowitz wondered why and has put together a frightening story of an insular and prosperous town that honored achievement-- including the achievement of its successful adolescent male athletes--above almost everything. Adolescent women were considered inferior and, more particularly, as rewards reserved by right for the football stars. The Glen Ridge rapists, who already had a long history of aberrant behavior (including masturbating in class), were just such stars, and the town rallied blindly to support and protect them, first by denying that the crime had hjappened and then by circulating a blame-the- victim, boys-will-be-boys defense. The young men who were convicted of rape are still free on bail pending an appeal. A shocking and horrifying example of cultural dysfunction that, the author asserts, is not limited to Glen Ridge. (25 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-520-20596-0
Page count: 428pp
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997