A thoughtful, rigorous, and comprehensive look at sexual crimes brimming with insights and humanity.




A writer offers an exploration of sexual assault, including the forces that permit and encourage it, paired with a holistic approach to reducing its occurrence. 

McDonald (UnHoly Orders, 1996) believes that the time for a serious revision of the way people combat and even think about sexual assault is upon us: “Society is now ready to dialogue.” The regnant strategy, which largely focuses on the problem from the perspective of law enforcement, is simply too limiting—the mere “adjudication of law” has proved simplistically insufficient. Instead, the author proposes a much more proactive plan that emphasizes preventive measures; addresses the mindsets that make victims more vulnerable and that catalyze predators; and identifies the features of societal culture that make sexual assault more likely. In short, this entails a prioritization of “merciful healing” (“Proactive mercy in respect to crime pattern prevention is richer than the donation model of charity. The whole of society is responsible for reducing malfeasance”). McDonald articulates in lucid, accessible prose ways to promote the empowerment of would-be victims that focus not only on defensive safety in the narrow sense, but also the disadvantages that make women vulnerable, including chauvinistic bias, economic insecurity, and an insufficiently robust understanding of consent. The author also looks to the offenders as well, discussing their predictable patterns of behavior, the likelihood they suffered abuse, and the role of pornography in the normalization of sexual violence and objectification. McDonald’s treatment of a sensitive subject is impressively nuanced, and she covers a dizzying array of topics with great concision. The author’s recommendations are deeply humane, seeking not only justice for victims, but also a world less likely to produce predators—who are not born with but largely learn violent tendencies. She also proposes a more realistic interpretation of gender equality that doesn’t entail indiscriminate sameness, thereby ignoring advantages men may have over women: “Privileged dualism denies diversity.” This is an important contribution to a timely discussion that deserves a wide audience. 

A thoughtful, rigorous, and comprehensive look at sexual crimes brimming with insights and humanity. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-3722-6

Page Count: 337

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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