Friday, July 16, 2021

Book Review: "The Damage" by Caitlin Wahrer

Caitlin Wahrer's debut novel, The Damage, is a powerful, emotional look at how far we will go to protect those we love.⁣

⁣ Nick, a college student, enjoys a night at a bar with a close friend. After some drinking and dancing, he’s approached by a handsome older man. They flirt, talk, and ultimately decide to go to the man’s motel room. The next thing he knows, Nick wakes up bruised and bloody—and he has been raped.⁣

⁣ As Nick helps the police try to identify his rapist, he must confront a jumble of intense emotions. Meanwhile, his older brother Tony, who had always been a surrogate father to Nick, feels powerless in the face of Nick’s pain and wants to solve his problems and protect him.⁣

⁣ When Nick’s rapist is identified and he publicly contradicts Nick's story, shifting the blame to him and raising ideas about Nick's proclivities, Tony’s wife Julia, a former defense attorney, worries that Nick may be harmed by the scrutiny of a trial. She becomes increasingly worried Tony might take matters into his own hands to try and fight his brother's battles.⁣

⁣ This is a story that packs a punch on so many levels. It’s narrated by Nick, Tony, Julia, and the detective mounting the case. There is so much rich character development in this book it’s so hard to believe it’s a debut novel.⁣

⁣ I’ll admit I hesitated to read The Damage because as a survivor I worried this would be too painful of an experience for me. But I commend Caitlin Wahrer for doing right by survivors of sexual assault and presenting their struggles and challenges in an accurate, not overly dramatic way. ⁣

⁣ NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada, and Doubleday Canada provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! Really a great and thought-provoking read. ⁣

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