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  • Writer's pictureRachel Schommer

Rachel Schommer Reviews: 3.11.24

Here I am again, late to the party. This book has been on my TBR for what feels like YEARS and I've finally gotten around to it and am slapping myself for not reading it sooner!



 




WHAT GOOD GIRLS DO by Jonathan Butcher

 

1. I’ve been seeing a lot of vitriol on social media lately for, what feels to me, any splatterpunk or extreme horror book that deals with sexual assault of any person, especially children. While I agree those things are horrific, I also think those subjects are incredibly important and real and deserve to be written about. That said, I do understand that it’s preferred by many people, me included, when there is a point to it - whether that be setting up a revenge arc or providing background knowledge for character development, etc., not just gratuitous rape scenes. I feel this book handles an extremely difficult and emotional topic in a way that most people will not find issue with. (Well, anyone with critical thinking skills) It’s raw and painful, and Butcher sets up his stance on this behavior right from the most perfect dedication before the story even begins.

 

2. If you read my reviews, you know I love beautiful, sometimes flowery language. This book is not that, at all, let’s get that out there right away. The language in this book is simple. Honestly, if it weren’t the subject matter it is, it’s written similarly to a middle-grade novel. 100% not appropriate for that subject-wise! BUT – I get it; Butcher alternates between the points of view of a typical Woman/Mom/Wife named Serenity and a Girl without a name who has lived her entire life in the same room being used for awful purposes and not receiving any education or even being able to see outside. The Girls only glimpses into a wider world are through videos (porn, of course) that she is allowed to view for ‘educational’ purposes. So, penning this book in a very basic, no-frills style makes absolute sense, and it adds to the sense of reality you get from the storyline.

 

3.  Speaking of the sense of reality from the storyline; I was so impressed with how Butcher could write the perspective of a person seeing things for the first time, with a sense of wonder. I was completely endeared to this character and really felt for her, which is very important. He also wrote from Serenity’s POV in an absolutely heart-wrenching way. I don’t want to spoil the story at all, but the way he encompasses all her feelings all together while experiencing the worst moments anyone can fathom was artful. So, while the book was written ‘easily’ the subject matter and psychology of the storyline were anything but easy. Especially the ending.

 

4. So impressive and masterfully done. This was my first Jonathan Butcher book, but will not be my last.

 

Very highly recommend!


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