BOOK REVIEW – What We Saw by Aaron HartzlerWhat We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
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Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

“Words have meanings. When we call something a theory in science, it means something. Reggie, when you say that you ‘can’t help yourself’ if a girl is wasted, that means something, too. You’re saying that our natural state as men is ‘rapist’. (…) That’s not okay with me, Reggie.”

Trigger warning : Rape.

Incoherent sentences hardly articulated through my sobs : that’s all I can give you and I’m so, so sorry for that. Actually, scratch that : I’m not even able to write down my thoughts – I can’t, because every word I can think of seems so overused and drained of sense that I feel sick in even considering writing such platitudes.


This powerful, eyes-opening and heartbreaking unique and oh so important book deserves such an equally amazing review. And given the emotionally state it let me in, I’m not sure I can do it, guys.

Just, please please please please read it, because I rarely read a book that tackled the issue of rape – and more generally of sexual assault – in such honest and meaningful way.

Boys will be boys?
Why must you be hysterical about this?
There are rules?

Just when are we going to throw that bullshit away?

Victim shaming and blaming. Role of the medias. Guilt, shame, and oh, the heartbreak – I can’t handle it. Rage so fierce that seized my throat.

THIS is the reality we’re living in.

We’re all Kates. We could all be Staceys. Please let’s change that.

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