INVIOLATE is about a young girl who is brutally raped and learns to accept that while her physical virginity was stolen from her, only she can choose when and to whom she will surrender it spiritually. It relates the long-lasting trauma from the terror and humiliation of sexual assault and the collateral damage that is inflicted on a victim's loved ones. The story depicts the conflict of character between two men, one a violent sex predator who is able to hide his deviate psyche from even those closest to him; the other a gentle and kind man who is unjustly suspected of being a pedophile. A story of love, friendship, and character values, it illustrates the contradictions inherent in human nature when circumstantial events suggest that a trusted friend may be guilty of committing an evil act.
(Summary via Goodreads)
First, I have to warn that if you were the victim of sexual abuse, this book will likely trigger bad memories, so you may want to stay away. This was a hard read on several levels. It is split into 5 sections. The first is about a young girl who is molested. The second is about a young girl who is raped. The third section covers a precocious young woman and a much older man. The fourth section is about a man who pursues a woman the correct way, and the final section wraps up most character story lines.
Let's start with what I liked. I liked that it was very clearly delineated what kind of behaviors were wrong. Also, blame was never placed on the victims. Even in the third section about Tiffany, the older man Alan clearly took responsibility for his actions. The rape victim sought help from her clergy and a mental health professional. Alan sought help also. Both these people were able to take positive steps forward, and I like the message this sends. It is important to seek help for all aspects of your life.
Now for what I didn't like. I felt the pacing was uneven. At times it seemed like the plot ran forward like an Olympic sprinter, and then there were times where it seemed to meander along with no direction. The dialogue felt equally unequal. There were parts that seemed very realistic, and then large sections of dialogue with no contractions at all. This made it seem very formal and stiff. This also lead to a clinical feel to some of the story. I often felt no emotional attachment to the characters, although considering what they all went through this might have been a good thing. At times I felt like I was reading a text book, because it all felt so formal.
There were no euphemisms used when describing things, just the correct anatomical terms. I like this approach, because I think it's important to not try and lighten the impact of actions with cutesy terms. However, when reading it, it does seem very graphic. The language is also strong but realistic. This is not a book for young people though. There were a couple plots points I found strange or unrealistic. I realize the girl in the third section was meant to be unusually mature for her age, but she seemed a bit too precocious to me. Also, one character had a bizarre obsession with dating girls who are virgins. This weirded me out a lot. The plot line with the rapist wasn't really wrapped up as well as I would like. I also found the ending to be a bit creepy.
Overall, I feel that there are some good messages in this book. It is worth a read, but don't expect a fully polished, emotional book. It can be very harsh and cold, which is sometimes fitting to the subject matter. In the end though, it left me feeling rather flat.
Copy of this book won on a book website.