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#NEW #Book #Release + #Book #Review "It Happens All the Time" by @AmyHatvany #Consent
From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.
Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.
Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.
What happens next will change them forever.
In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.
Warning: This book is about "CONSENT", so yes, a "RAPE" does happen. If this is a situation you don't want to relive, or if this is a touchy subject for you, I warn you to not read this book or this review if you are in a place in your life where this subject matter could possibly affect you in ANY way because it WILL bother you. If you are dealing with issues like this, or have been for a long time and do not have these issues resolved yet, please don't read the book or the rest of this review unless you think it would help you. You have to keep protecting yourself, and if you have not come to terms with what has happened to yourself yet, then wait. Do what you need to do for yourself first before you bring back all your memories of your consent being violated.
I can see this book is going to bring this subject of 'consent' up all over the place, and this makes me very happy. I see this book making a huge impact about 'consent' in many groups, book clubs, between friends, best friends, acquaintances, and maybe even in social media, and on television talk shows, too. I DO see this book becoming a best seller because of the issue of consent in this book being violated. I think consent always needs to be brought up and discussed because it is so often violated. I think things have gotten a little lax about it lately, again, as well. Consent seems to wax and wane. I can even attest to this very fact in my own experiences. The word consent starts to take on different meanings at times, especially as different situations presents themselves. Remember also, 9 times out of 10, when our consent is violated, we DO KNOW WHO the person is who has done it, and if we will continuously run into that person, or have to see them again, it's a constant reminder of what happened. Let's call it what it is. It's rape. Scary. It's often someone you know who does it to you, too, and in this case, it's her best friend who she felt the absolute safest with. Rapists are friends, acquaintances, family members (of which we have heard of a particular christian family having one of their own brothers violating the consent of five of his sisters of all ages), a neighbor, or the stranger you've never met until then.
Consent is always a good thing to bring up repeatedly as a reminder to men that when a woman says the word NO, NO MEANS NO! None of this, 'but she was dressed so sexy', or 'the way she was acting towards me told me she wanted it.' NO! No means NO! Sadly in court rooms across any country, these very things are brought up to be held against the woman, trying to show the woman really DID give a positive consent for the man to do what he did. This has never changed. We still fight it, and these 'same' issues are brought up repeatedly. I cannot believe we have not moved away from this and still fight against it.
Consent. Consent should be simple, right? It is simple. The answer is a "Yes" or a "No". When consent is a NO, it should be immediately respected. Consent should be listened to and followed no matter if that means a yes or no. Consent is a clear answer for the other party to listen to and follow directions, and yes, 9 times out of 10 it's the man who is the one who is pushing the boundaries of consent and/or not listening to us, the female, at all. The men try to turn a NO from us into a YES. OR, he refuses to listen at ALL and he violates your body. YOUR BODY! Not his, YOURS/OURS! I have a male friend who always tells me it's MY BODY, MY DECISION to vote with it! "I" decide to give consent or not. Men don't always listen, especially if there is alcohol involved and defenses and judgmental thinking is not there. When the word NO is spoken, it needs to stop right then and there! In this case it was not so simple. Men, when women say NO, we mean NO!!! Let's also face it. Men ARE stronger than we women are, and even in this story, Amber pretty much gives up as that very thought does go through her head. As this thought is going through her head, she knows she has no chance in fighting him to get him to stop or to get him off of her. She is helpless against his strength even though she is a Personal Trainer and very strong herself, she gives up. I clearly understand why. We are not going to be able to fight a man off of us who has an end result in his mind and is not listening for consent! I admit I'm not strong enough to fight a man off of me. I'll also admit I've been in this predicament myself actually a few times. I did fight back with one, and I DID win, but that was only one time. There were a few other times, and I lost. Many men think because you may have a very attractive body, that that alone in itself is consent. No!!! I think MANY of us women have been in this same exact predicament. Sometimes the men do listen, but most of the time they don't listen to us.
There are also times when a couple are being romantic and things start going to far for the woman. She decides she does not want to have happen what will eventually. She tells the man no. Please stop. She is ignored, and this is what happens to Amber.
At first after something like this happens, ALL women are affected by it to many different levels. Other times, some women are much more affected by rape than others are and are practically paralyzed from it, having the hardest time trying to move forward in their lives because of it, but what does matter is in the end, we have been violated against our will, and our words of NO were not listened to! We did NOT give our consent. NO! Our answer was ignored. Now we women are left to deal with this the rest of our lives. This is not something that EVER goes away. It can be absolutely devastating. Some women are able to move forward easier than others are, but just because that happens does not in ANY way mean it's okay for a man to rape a woman. Men move along as nothing bad happened, and they have no conscious about it. They are fine. They move along living fine without any issues affecting them whatsoever, unless they have some type of court battle to deal with, or the police, etc., and then it's just a pain in their rear only. It doesn't affect them at all.
Again, this story is told in alternating voices between Amber and Tyler. I'm not giving away a spoilers here purposely, but it doesn't take too much to figure out just by reading the description alone as to who is going to be raped and by whom. When the book opens, the first scene is Amber returning home for the holidays. She lives a good seven hours away from her parents house, and this is the first time in the few short months she has been dating a man she finds who treats her like a Queen! She is in love with Daniel, and this is the first time they have had to split up and go their separate ways to be with family over the holidays. She misses him, but also notices Tyler laying on her parents couch, sleeping. She realizes he has now a grown man, no longer a little boy. She thinks he looks very good in this new body of his. It suits him well, and she is still happy with her boyfriend, Daniel. She suffers through the holidays with food being pushed onto her, and we learn of a very severe eating disorder she has had and does still struggle with it daily. ALL this food that her mother is assaulting her with is driving her insane. Amber likes to be thin, and even works as a Personal Trainer. She really is lucky to be alive, given the Anorexia she suffered with for years, always wanting to be thinner but only landing her in the hospital. Who is there for her through her struggle to get healthy again? Tyler. Tyler is the one who visits her every day. They are best friends, and even to this day as she talks to her now fiance', Daniel, she always reminds him that Tyler is her best friend. Daniel does not like that she has another man as a best friend, he does start to get jealous. (Even I have a man who is my best friend!! I completely understand how she feels about Tyler!) She feels NOTHING sexual towards Tyler, and what Tyler gives her is a complete feeling of being SAFE with him. Tyler cares for her and he has her back in any situation, and she does the same for him. After all, this IS what best friends do for each other, right? They talk about anything, and they even know what the other is thinking! This is truly a best friend. Sadly, in a male to female relationships, lines can be crossed so very easily, and this is exactly what happens.
When you first start reading this book, we find out Tyler has loved Amber since he was a teenager, since his own parents split up and Amber's parents pretty much took Tyler in to care for him as his single mother worked to keep a roof over their heads, the bills paid for and to give Tyler the best life that she could give him.
Tyler is driven to his breaking point from his father over and over and over again and again and again. His father is a VILE man. No wonder the divorce! The problem - Tyler has been in love with Amber for as long as he can remember. These feelings have never changed for him. Does the same go for Amber? NO. Amber is engaged to another man named Daniel. We learn all of the backstory from the two characters, each with their own alternating chapters as we hear their voices and what the other means to them. It is at about the 40% area in the ebook when the rape occurs.
The rest of the book shows us how both Amber and Tyler deal with the rape, the good and the bad, but mostly the bad. Is rape ever good, no.
I could relate to the character of Amber more after her rape than before her rape. I realized I didn't know if I really liked her character all that much. It seemed as if something was missing from her character, and I can't quite put my finger on it, but she would not have been a best friend of mine, and that is the only reason I rated this book at a four star rating, otherwise I would give it a five. I felt as if I needed to like Amber more than I did in the beginning of the book. I need to be able to relate to her better, and I couldn't. I felt sorry for her with her eating disorder, but Tyler's character was much more well developed. I liked Tyler in the beginning. Even after the rape, Tyler was much more vocal about things. Perhaps that is it. Amber was not vocal enough. Her character was not as personable as Tyler's was. Something was lacking in Amber.
Amber does end up pressing charges against Tyler, and that is what both characters go through as Amber searches for some type of meaning to what her best friend did to her, and also looks for some type of healing.
Overall, this is an excellent book about consent gone wrong.
I'll say this again, as long as things are good with you and consent issues, this is an excellent book to read, and the author does an excellent job writing it for us. Again, if you do have issues with consent, I would suggest staying away from this book so it does not cause further issues unless you think reading about it can help you with your own life. If you don't have any issues with consent, I think this is a MUST READ!!! Learn from this book what could happen, and take anything else this book may teach you, even if it is a fictional story. There is a lot to be learned from it. Enjoy!!
I want to thank the publisher, Atria, for providing a copy of this book for me to read and write a review about it of my own opinion, and I want to thank NetGalley for providing the copy of the book.