There are several unread books on my shelves that have been there for years. One of my goals this year (and next year) is to get around to reading some of these books (mainly to make space for even more books). This week, I decided to take a break from reading Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue (which is awesome…but long) and read one of these sadly neglected books on my shelf–Inexcusable by Chris Lynch. This book was released in 2005, and I’ve been meaning to read it but never got around to it until now. It’s a short, fast read that will appeal to reluctant readers, and the subject matter–what can only be called date rape–is a topic that should be explored with any and all teens.
Keir Sarafian is a “good guy.” Ask anyone. He doesn’t get into too much trouble. He’s a great son and brother. He’d rather cut off his own arm than hurt anyone close to him. So, it’s absolutely impossible that he could have done what Gigi–the love of his life–is accusing him of. No. He absolutely couldn’t have raped her.
As Keir tries to figure out why Gigi is saying these awful things, he reflects back on the past year. He thinks about the good times and bad, things he could have done differently, mistakes he made, and whether or not he really is a “good guy.” What could have possibly led him to this point, and what will happen to him now? Is there any way he can convince Gigi that this is all some huge mistake? Or is Keir’s biggest mistake believing that he couldn’t do something this horrible?
It becomes clear to the reader pretty quickly that Keir is not the “good guy” he’s built himself up to be in his own mind, but it is interesting to see his thought processes. What makes someone so delusional that they can’t see what’s right in front of them? In Keir’s case, I think we can partially blame his father, who sees nothing wrong with getting wasted with his teenage son. We can also partially blame sports culture. This idea that athletes are above the law does nothing to help these guys when the you-know-what really hits the fan. Mostly, though, the blame lies with Keir, who fails to take a long, hard look at his own actions. It seems he’s always pushing the fault onto someone else’s shoulders. After all, he’s a “good guy,” and he couldn’t possibly do something really bad.
In my opinion, Inexcusable is a good book for teen readers, especially those who don’t quite understand the true meaning and seriousness of date rape. Some of the content and language is mature, so I wouldn’t put this book in the hands of middle grade readers.
Another book on this topic that you may want to consider is The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney. While Inexcusable looks at date rape from the male’s point of view, The Mockingbirds looks at the female perspective and what a girl can do to fight back when something this horrible happens to her. Of the two of these books, The Mockingbirds is probably my favorite, and I will hopefully find time to read the sequel, The Rivals, soon.