Jon Krakauer’s topic selections are always brilliant, although this book doesn’t live up to, say, “Into Thin Air.” I agree with the reviewers who describe “Missoula” is somewhat of a cut-and-paste job. The story feels like 75% court transcripts and only 25% Jon’s own musings and analysis. Also, the book is rightly tilted toward the victims’ POV, which is fine; however, some of the author’s editorializing about public defenders’ actions and motives come across as snarky. Still, this is a highly readable and illuminating project, and well worth our time to absorb and understand.
I am struck by the reality that in virtually all cases of campus sexual assault, booze plays a key role. I attended a parents’ orientation lecture at Cal Poly many years ago when my own daughter was matriculating there; having attended Christian schools myself, I was used to hearing “temperance” lectures. What I heard that day was definitely deja vu; the dean at this university bluntly told the attending families that when considering college issues like rape, theft, etc., the involvement of alcohol as a factor is “essentially 100%.” Of course, nothing, nothing, NOTHING excuses rape or any form of unwanted sexual assault, but I hope this well-told story will remind young women not to place themselves in situations of jeopardy.