BookWoman BookGroup Discussion: Insufficient Evidence with author Susan Kraus
This month's selection is Insufficient Evidence by Susan Kraus. The author will be in Austin, and has accepted our invitation to join us as we discuss her book!
About the book:
At her first frat party, freshman Hannah Larson is thrilled by the attentions of Logan Whiteman, a good-looking senior. They drink and flirt. Hannah feels woozy. Logan offers his room for her to lie down.
We’ve heard this story too often. It’s how Insufficient Evidence opens: Hannah explaining to her new therapist, Grace McDonald, what just happened. Meanwhile Logan is telling his father, lawyer, police, and the university IOA office, that, “It was just a hookup.”
About the author:
I’m a 69-year old writer/therapist who has worked with sexual assault survivors for 40 years. Motivated by Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will, I was a volunteer with the Austin Rape Crisis Center in the mid-1970’s. I’ve worked in university counseling centers, taught social work, and have maintained a private practice in the university town of Lawrence, Kansas, since 1987. I thought, naively, when I started researching this novel, that I had a handle on current issues.
But, not really. It has been a peripatetic process of re-education and research, as I talked with survivors, focus groups of college students, law enforcement, DAs, journalists, RCC staff, Title IX staff, writers and researchers, and more.
What makes Insufficient Evidence a must-read?
-People who would never pick up a non-fiction book on rape find themselves engaged by plot and with characters. Engagement becomes empathy. Empathy is the first step to changing perspective or beliefs.
-The novel is told from multiple perspectives: the survivor, the alleged rapist, friends and families of each, police, DA’s, Title IX, and Grace McDonald, the therapist at the center of this perfect storm.
-Grace is a 50-something therapist and mediator, with limited understanding of hookup culture, the blurred lines of consent when alcohol is involved, and the merciless nature of social media. As she puts it, “Since when did a blow-job replace a goodnight kiss?”
-Grace’s budding relationship with a chunky, balding ex-cop provides a stark contrast between hookups and mature consensual intimacy.
-Insufficient Evidence also tackles the death of evidence (as we know it) and the right to retribution when the justice system fails.
In a review, N.Y. Times best-selling author Harriet Lerner writes, “Susan Kraus deals with a wrenching subject with a lively, energetic writing style that makes the reader want to keep on reading. Should be required reading for all college sororities and fraternities.”