Sunday, July 19, 2009

Books I've read this week - Testimony

Testimony by Anita Shreve ©2008 I won this book from Drey's Library. Thanks again Drey!

About the book: “Enter a world upended by the repercussions of a single impulsive act.

At an exclusive New England boarding school, a sex scandal unleashes a storm of shame and recrimination. The men, women, and teenagers affected – among them the headmaster, struggling to contain the scandal before it destroys the school; a well-liked scholarship student and star basketball player, grappling with the consequences of his mistakes; his mother, confronting her own forbidden temptations; and a troubled teenage girl eager to put the past behind her – speak out to relate the events of one fateful night and its aftermath.”

This story is told chapter by chapter by the different people involved - the students, the headmaster, the parents, the friends, the police. Three of the school’s senior basketball players and one fourteen-year-old freshman girl get drunk and engage in consensual sexual activities which are videotaped. The tape somehow arrives at the headmaster’s (it’s never explained how) and he mistakenly tries to keep the story quiet and handle it himself. When the girl thinks she’s going to get into trouble, she calls her parents and tells them she was raped. They call the police and soon word leaks out and the school and everyone involved are caught up in the scandal. Where the story takes place in Vermont, sex with a girl this age is considered sexual abuse and the 3 boys are charged. The story explains the background of the 4 young people involved and what led up to the night of drinking and sex, and then the aftermath. It also explores the ‘what ifs’ of the different characters that could have led to a much different ending.
I so understand how something like this could happen when kids are drinking and messing around. This could happen anywhere with the same results but being in the private school sector made it that much more scandalous. It was a very compelling story of how one mistake can ruin lives.

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