Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Reading

Goat: A Memoir
by Brad Land

Review by Jonathan Stillerman, Men Can Stop Rape co-Director and co-Founder

"Goat" is a true story of traditional masculinity and the damage it
can do to relationships with oneself, one's family, and one's
community. Told through the eyes of the author as a younger man,
Brad Land's moving and painful first novel centers around his
relationship with his brother, Brett, both preceding and during
their college years at Clemson University. Violence weaves its way
throughout the book, beginning with a terrifying account of a
physical attack that Brad suffers at the hands of two male peers and
culminating in descriptions of humiliation and subjugation that he
and his brother endure as part of fraternity hazing. Perhaps more
sad and disturbing than Land's telling of these incidents, however,
is his portrayal of his own slowly growing alienation from himself
and his friends, and the steady deterioration of his once close
connection to Brett. At a time when much more attention is being
paid to the links between masculinity and violence against women,
Land's memoir highlights that no one is immune to the impact of
men's violence and raises poignant questions about the true meaning
of “brotherhood."

Description provided by Boulder Book Store:
Reeling from a terrifying assault that has left him physically injured and psychologically shattered, nineteen-year-old Brad Land must also contend with unsympathetic local police, parents who can barely discuss "the incident" (as they call it), a brother riddled with guilt but unable to slow down enough for Brad to keep up, and the feeling that he'll never be normal again. When Brad's brother enrolls at Clemson University and pledges a fraternity, Brad believes he's being left behind once and for all. Desperate to belong, he follows. What happens there--in the name of "brotherhood," and with the supposed goal of forging a scholar and a gentleman from the raw materials of boyhood--involves torturous late-night hazing, heartbreaking estrangement from his brother, and, finally, the death of a fellow pledge. Ultimately, Brad must weigh total alienation from his newfound community against accepting a form of brutality he already knows too well.
A searing memoir of masculinity, violence, and brotherhood, Goat provides an unprecedented window into the emotional landscape of young men and introduces a writer of uncommon grace and power.

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