Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer is a tough book to review. This harrowing novel examines the college town of Missoula, Montana over a four-year period of time; a town that has become infamous for its high numbers of non-stranger rape on the University of Montana campus. The novel is painstakingly thorough - which, is at times difficult to endure, but is so critical in shining a light on the terrible reality for many college women. I found this book especially important in a year in which sexual assault and rape culture can be excused as “locker room talk” by the people in charge of our nation.
I don’t want to say this book is ‘good’ because it is incredibly jarring and deeply disturbing, but if you can stomach it, Missoula is an eye-opening book that warns us of the prominence of and ignorance around rape culture. Reading this book, it’s easy to imagine that the frequency of rape happening on this college campus is an outlier, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Although, I think this book could be just the slap in the face some people need to realize the devastating reality of rape in America.
Krakauer presents the contents of the book in a way that isn’t too academic, without taking away from the serious nature of the topic. Based on the delicate, yet powerful way he presents the reader with information, it is apparent that this is an issue he cares about a great deal. This certainly couldn’t have been easy to write about, but it was necessary, and I’m glad that he did.
Of course, with a book of this nature, there are many, many trigger warnings for rape (often described in great detail), so please tread lightly.