DiscoverContemporary Fiction

SHE TOO

By R Read

Worth reading 😎

Amidst the surge of the #metoo movement, this story needs to be told. Its poignant message about assault on females is one for all to read.

Synopsis

Now in Netflix Hulu consideration pile!!
Based on true events, this is the tale of gifted athletes living the dream of D1 sports at top California University's. When a frat party turns into a tragedy, the steep price for "just 20 minutes of action" becomes glaringly apparent.

Read is adept at capturing the many facets of university life. There are so many layers to this story that accurately reflect the stories of who gets involved after these incidents as well as the stories of who was there in the first place. We are brought into the lives of students, staff, administration, police officers, and first responders. The layers make this story more personal and gives everyone something to make a personal connection with. Whether you are a student, a parent, or someone who works with youth, this novel will mean something to you.


The difficulty with the different layers is that it can sometimes be confusing. There are so many characters and the episodes change so quickly that I found myself wondering what had just happened and who I'm now reading about. What I came to realize is that the confusion is also a reflection on how confusing these accounts can be. However, I found that the writing itself lacked polish. I wanted to linger a little longer on some stories and not others. The different storylines were a brilliant way to encapsulate the way assaults are handled, but I did find myself frustrated at the lack of development - even at the end of the novel.


What this book lacks in sophistication, it gains in the ever so important messaging. In the afterword, the author herself admits that the strength in this novel is in the moral of the story. For that self-critique, I applaud. This story is one that will stay with you. It is the kind of story that is echoed through social media today. Although the #metoo movement is in the forefront of social consciousness, the reality is that the stories that are shared will continue to happen long after the justice warriors move on to the next big topic. She Too is a reminder - and testament - to that.


This is one for everyone to read. Everyone needs to know about the ways in which the way men are raised can be harmful. Everyone needs to know how scary it can be to be unsure of what happened to your own body. Everyone needs to know the bravery and courage it takes for females to speak out.

Reviewed by

I have been a reader forever. I still hold the record for reading the most books in Grade 1, and I have maintained that momentum. Now, I have a degree in English Literature and share my passion as an English teacher. I also have a blog where I occasionally post book reviews.

Synopsis

Now in Netflix Hulu consideration pile!!
Based on true events, this is the tale of gifted athletes living the dream of D1 sports at top California University's. When a frat party turns into a tragedy, the steep price for "just 20 minutes of action" becomes glaringly apparent.

THURSDAY

Little Black Dress Night 

For as long as Frankie could remember, she had participated in an annual ritual of three to four weeks of hot summer sports practices known as pre-season.

Most fall scholar athletes gathered before the rest of their classmates, in mid to late August, for exhausting workouts, countless hours of team bonding, game planning, tee shirt creating, and parties of some sort.

She'd cleverly switched to curling in grade 10 when she read an article published in the local paper about the probability of being awarded college scholarship dollars for this relatively random sport. Also key was that hardly anyone who went out for it got cut. As she set out on a concerted effort to fund her dream of ditching her Texas roots for the great state of California, curling would be her ticket. Partially the scholarship dollars, somewhat the easier training and conditioning involved, but mostly the guarantee of a college experience outside of Texas.

Sure there was plenty of cardio, weights, conditioning, and on-ice practice time, but nothing compared to soccer. Frankie did not miss the soccer grind of practicing twice per day during those weeks before the school, usually in hot summer temperatures, only to be outrun by an underclass-person in the final tryout. Soccer presented much more grueling workouts, followed by pre-season scrimmages in heat, while curling was downright pleasant in comparison, indoors and chilly.

Aside from lunges, interval conditioning and weight training, curling teams basically just held inter-squad matches. There were barely enough curlers to field three squads of foursomes for a top, middle, or backup squads. With so few interested in the sport, you were practically guaranteed a spot. Add Frankie's bit of athleticism, she was coveted by the coach.

Frankie could tell by the first week of practice which girls had followed the take home conditioning planners, and who likely partied away their summer nights, making out, smoking pot and drinking. It was almost too easy to do about half the expected work, party part-time, and still be good to go on the ice with her athleticism by tryout time.

At the college level, pre-season hype and mania was amplified by the mixing of student athletes from foreign countries and multiple states. Let the groups loose on campus a solid month prior to the academic only student body, and some wild parties ensued.

Traditionally, curlers let off a bit of steam after pre-season and tryouts for squads with a little black dress night party. Nothing athletic about it, a night out as collegiate girly girls, a highpoint with celebrated stories from years past. Being a red-shirt sophomore, Frankie was an experienced party leader, hosting the pregame before heading out to a campus fraternity party.



           The squads giggle as they twirl each other’s hair into loose, cascading curls and waves. Straightened, then curled, it’s all the rage on the latest blow out bar menu. 

“Oh my gawd Marla. You are truly an ahrteest – that updo on this betch is straight up glam!” Beth holds out a shot of tequila to Frankie while holding back the lime. 

“Ima keep it real wit chu sistahs; Beau is mine tonight,” Frankie gulps the liquid then grips the lime with her front teeth to suck out the chaser. “Audrey fuckin Hepburn’s got nothin’ on me.”

“I know you be talkin’ Breakfast at Tiff, Beau’s place gurl.” Beth and a few others laugh as if it’s comedy central ready material.

Incoming freshmen are the stylists to the upper-class, as is part of the historic ritual of Cal Curling Crew. Marla is a transfer with mad braiding skills. Make-up is strewn across the desks and dining room table where ten or more gather for a group get up and go.

Jane makes her way from the kitchen to the back bedroom with a paper plate loaded with eight shot glasses filled to the brim. “Who’s up?!”

“Bottoms up ladies,” Beth and Anne clink their shots. “Wimps and bed wetter’s need not apply.”

A couple girls sip timidly and Jane scolds “get on our level betches, drop it back.”

“Seriously tequila shots is appetizer. Be ready for your main course drinks.” Anne adds. “Curlers never say no to free alcohol.”


Hazing is so last year. Drinking to oblivion is simply Pre-Gaming. No worries.

There is frenzy in the kitchen area while dozens of limes are sliced. Coarse salt and special sugar-rimmed glasses are also being prepped. The freshmen have been ICED with a Smirnoff each, but upper-class chicks stick to straight vodka to save calories.

A pair of four-inch heels might seem like a bit of a challenge for trekking across campus, but again, no worries, liquid courage/pain relief on board. Dresses are tried and traded. Spanx encased bodies are flitting about, and “does this romper make me look fat?” 

How is it these twenty-somethings don’t realize their bodies are perfect as is…and this is as good as it gets in terms of the figures they’ve been given. Born this Way, everybody knows that one. Not since thong swimsuits became mainstream has there been more body shaming.

“Circle up betches, time to rave it out. Jane cue me some Salt N Pepa,” Frankie orders. “Let’s talk about sex lay dees,” she chants her version of the lyrics, taking lead on hip sway and grinding against the arm of the couch. The rest of the group join in on a groove session.


The party is being thrown by the Boy Boaters. Hunky, tall and strong are they…especially after a few drinks. So what if their reputation is shhhitt. The parties are always off the chain. Let’s Goooooooo.

Frankie is a junior. Older. Wiser. There are four in her UberX. She orders it a block off College Ave, and they jump out a block from the party. No one needs to spill the beans. Feet saved.

“Drop us a block from the barge,” orders Frankie to the Uber driver.

“Huh?” Uber driver.

“Oh wait, just kidding. We are headed to a party at the Boat House. They call it the barge. Corner of Piedmont and Bancroft.”

“Wait. A block from there, k?” Frankie quickly corrects her error. It needs to look like they all walked or the team will mock ‘em.

It’s less than a mile and the Uber driver is annoyed. These damn sorority bitches never tip and fucking slowing my ass down tonight…I gotta get off college row already. $6.45 is the total on his screen as he begrudgingly smiles, knowing full well just one of these four bitches gives him a bad rating and his tips of the future are nil.

“Anne and Beth, buddy system. Jane, you’re with me. There’s a guy I want you to meet.” Just like that the four become two twos, and they’re off. 


About the author

Currently residing in San Luis Obispo, CA, R Read is working on the screenplay version of SHE TOO for 2019, view profile

Published on November 04, 2018

Published by

50000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by

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