Published: 1st November 2017
Publisher: Legend Press
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.
On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.
In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.
Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives
First things first I want to say a BIG thank you to Legend Press for asking me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of Dark Chapter for review. I'm super grateful and this has no way effected the review that I'm giving!
Dark Chapter is intriguing from the outset and I immediately felt drawn in to the story, Li has a very interesting writing style which is somehow just painstakingly simple and yet perfect for this kind of plot. I'll admit that at some points the book was challenging to read because of the topic of the story but rape is something which needs to be spoken about and the blatant honesty of this book, based upon the author's own experience, found, what I think is, a really good way to talk about this issue.
One of the things which I loved most about this book is that it shows realistic representation of the consequences which rape can have upon someone's life and it demonstrates how slow and bumpy the road towards recovery can be whilst also showing that stuff can get easier over time. Further to this, Dark Chapter also focuses on the incredible strength of a vulnerable woman and her determination to see her case through to justice whilst battling so hard to try and recover is really empowering!
The psychology student in me loves the way that Li describes the process from Johnny's point of view in a way that doesn't justify the horrific acts which he committed but highlights how his upbringing and the influence of other males in his life, unsurprisingly resulted in views of women that are completely twisted and made an attack like this acceptable in his eyes. It's disgusting but it's also an interesting side of the story to read about and kept making me more and more frustrated throughout, because those ingrained thoughts are really damaging to everyone!
I don't think I've read a book, at least this year, where I was rooting for the main character so hard! I so passionately wanted justice for Vivian because she was going through so much turmoil and yet she kept on pushing forward - found myself regularly grumbling and yelling at the book when things weren't going in the way that I wanted them to! But most importantly, it was encouraging to read about such strength in such a difficult situation.
Dark Chapter is different to the books that would usually I go for but it was super enlightening and I think it's important for books like this to exist and discuss rape with such honesty. It's totally deserving of it's title as Not the Booker prize winner 2017 and I really hope that it is read by many and helps to educate lots of people.
It's dark, it's fast paced and most importantly it's unflinching in it's honesty so you should definitely get your hands on a copy of Dark Chapter and have a read.