The basics: In Missoula, Krakaeur takes the reader deep into the investigation of how the University of Montana and Missoula police are handling the epidemic of sexual assault and acquaintance rape. This epidemic isn't unique to Missoula.
My thoughts: I work in higher education and even serve on my campus's anti-sexual violence coordinating committee, and I considered myself pretty well-versed on the issues surrounding sexual assault on college campuses and acquaintance rape. I read Missoula more out of a desire to see how the issue was perceived to those outside of higher education. From the opening scene, however, I found myself shocked, appalled, and completely engaged in this book.
Krakauer uses the stories of several women and their attackers to humanize the larger epidemic. Statistics are also plentiful, and much of their power comes from these heart-wrenching stories. There are some vile moments in Missoula, but those moments are part of an important conversation we need to be having.
I came into Missoula feeling rather enlightened about its topic, but it made me confront my own ignorance and bias in ways that feel profound. I listened to this book more than six months ago, and I'm still processing both its contents and my reactions. It changed me. It wasn't always an easy listen, but I urge everyone to read it.
Audio thoughts: Mozhan Marno is my favorite narrator, so I knew I'd choose the audio version of this as soon as I saw she was narrating. She was superb. More and more, I find I prefer to read unsettling nonfiction on audio. I can close my eyes to cringe in shock at the most horrible moments, but the book keeps going, so I my mind can't force my eyes to dwell on those moments in print. Marno's performance is balanced and fair, and she kept me hanging on for the next word, even in the daunting narration of court transcripts and depositions.
The verdict: Initially I rated this book 4.5 stars, but then I realized it kept me thinking and the information made me change my way of thinking about sexual assault. This book is difficult to read, but it's powerful and incredibly important.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 11 hours 58 minutes (384 pages)
Publication date: April 21, 2015
Source: personal copy
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town from Amazon (Kindle edition.)
Want more? Visit Jon Krakauer's website and like him on Facebook.
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