Book Review: Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I remember I told myself, "let's not buy YA books anymore because I think we're past that," but this book simply made it to my shopping bag as I hoarded some from the Power Books super sale. Inexcusable appears to be "that kind" of read, where you are confronted with questions of social significance and challenge you to use your moral compass. The prospect of reading a book about date rape written in an unconventional manner ignited my curiosity. Well, the book is written from Keir's point of view, a teenager whose life is marred by teenage angst and superstar ego (he's in a sports team in school). And yes, he is the rapist.

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Keir lived with his dad, Ray, who was described to be a good man, a kind man. Upon turning the pages, this description gave me a picture of a soft-spoken man of the house who couldn't even swat a fly on the kitchen table. Then, there's Fran and Mary, Keir's older sisters, who somehow made it a point to make Keir reflect on the good and the bad of what he's doing, but then comes up with the final thought that Keir just couldn't hurt anybody. Keir was made to believe that he was a good guy, a good son, a good brother, and used it to justify his offenses. Good guys don't do that, he says. Did his family fail him in that regard? Maybe.

Keir being in the football/soccer team didn't help either. The self-entitlement brought about by his low-key fame has allowed him to do things his way, he physically violated other teenagers when he could, destroyed public property for no reason at all except for it was fun, did alcohol and drugs which I think is typical for teenagers but should never, of course, be tolerated. Being cool has always been equated to these things, and when you're famous campus-wide for whatever reason (e.g. you crippled someone because you believe you had too), the pressure of being able to do these illegal and ultimately unnecessary things eats you up inside.

Date rape is easily perpetrated these days, when I think it shouldn't be because women are much bolder and somewhat stronger than ever. The victims are never at fault, yet I could hear one of my friends' voice saying, "what is she doing getting drunk with a guy she doesn't completely know?" Gigi Boudakian was one of the few people who believed Keir's good and soft side, and this is most probably why she was too comfortable around him. He was the "gentlemanly good" guy during prom, and what are the odds that the same guy would treat her another way, right? I'd like to think that in Keir's mind, during the graduation party night, Gigi was so devastated and upset and he happened to be there for her, the gentlemanly good guy from the prom. They drove out of town and maybe, just maybe, he could have just one shot of chance with Gigi, as she seemed to have been about to breakup with his boyfriend from a distance. But no, all I saw was a devastated teenage boy who wanted to take advantage the first chance he got, and he had it when Gigi was so awfully tired after a long night, maybe with little to no chance to say no.

The ending of the book made me feel cheated somehow, only because I was hoping for a more definitive ending. There was still a lot to explore in Keir's relationship withe his family and friends, as this could be one of the reasons why he has the wrong perception about himself. It doesn't suggest the repercussions of the crime committed, and I don't have both the energy and the time to search for and read its sequel, Irreversible. This was enough for a short but difficult read, thought-provoking and mind-boggling.

Remember: A no is a no, because the way it looks is not the way it is.

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