- Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
Ever since Evan lost his virginity at fifteen to the Cupcake Lady of Tacoma, he has honed his instincts to pick out the girls who are sure things in each new place he moves to. At his latest boarding school, though, Collette is the one who seduces him, and he ends up receiving a savage beat-down by two boys who feel he’s encroached on their territory—territory they further mark by then raping Collette. Evan and his father move to his father’s childhood cabin in Minnesota so that Evan can recover physically and mentally. He also meets a girl who makes him want more than a physical connection, and eventually, he has to come to terms with the fact that he has never really had a genuine friend, and that all the sex in the world can’t make up for the loss of his mother and his inability to connect to his own feelings, much less anyone else’s. The only judgment passed here on frequent and random hook-ups is Evan’s self-recrimination; haunted by what happened to him but more by what happened to Collette, he struggles to not be the guy he once was, even though sex still offers a potent distraction from uncomfortable feelings. His conversations with the girl next door open him to new, sometimes heartbreaking [End Page 226] reflections on the kinds of relationships he’s missed in his single-minded devotion to scoring and moving on. The implicit point that while there is nothing wrong with sex, genuine human connection goes far beyond it has a much profounder effect than any overt condemnation of Evan’s behavior would; readers will empathize with him not only as a victim of violence but also as a victim of the lonely vacuum of his cultural values.