Thursday, February 1, 2024

Uncomfortable Territiory Part 2

 So, part of my planned "Trilogy of Trauma" is The Lookback Window by Kyle Dillon Hertz. The title refers to a period when New York extended some sexual assault cases statute of limitations to allow for civil cases against people who molested children, even if they couldn't be prosecuted criminally. As such, our narrator, Dylan, is trying to figure out if he should go after his sort of ex, who more or less pimped Dylan out at 14 to older men in exchange for drugs and money. 

Dylan is obviously older now, and narrating his life as he marries Moans, navigates therapy, deals with PTSD, and generally does a bunch of really bad stuff. (In the middle, he starts breaking vows to his husband. In the last third, he does Meth and GHB, winding up in the hospital.)

I felt a bit like I was reading a cross between I Spit on Your Grave and Go Ask Alice through this. I understand Dylan. Money proves nothing. Revenge doesn't bring back the years you were being relentlessly abused. Yeah, he goes to extremes I couldn't bear, but I understand his impulses here. I understand when he and Moans fight, because Moans wants to comfort Dylan, rather than let Dylan figure out his own wants. 

The biggest problem in here has nothing to do with the plot or the writing, it's more to do with the narrative jumping all over the place, particularly when Dylan is smoking meth or other things. There are a couple of jumps in there towards the end where I lost track of the narrative, as we go from one paragraph of him fighting with Moans to the next being in bed with another man shotgunning meth to him. 

The ending is satisfying, providing a sense of closure, while reminding us life goes on even through trauma. 

While I enjoyed this, your mileage may vary.

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