Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #31: Home Before Dark by Beverly Hastings

Home Before Dark by Beverley Hastings
Home Before Dark by Beverley Hastings

Title: Home Before Dark by Beverly Hastings

Summary: HURRY HOME…
“This isn’t the way to my house,” she said, with uncertainty in her voice.

“Yes, it is,” he reassured her. Already his heart was thumping a little faster in anticipation.

“It’s getting late,” she told him. “I’m supposed to be home before dark.”

She felt his heavy forearm across his throat. She screamed, but he just laughed.

At first, a year in Ohio with her aunt and uncle seems like a jail sentence to teenager Sara Langdon – after all, she’s from sunny L.A. The kids accept her with no problems, though, and she soon starts dating the captain of the football team. Then terror strikes, as a killer begins stalking high-school girls.

Tagline: No one is safe when the sun goes down…

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts: 

I’ve never read it before. I didn’t know much about it, though when I chose it, Dove warned me that it was about rape, at the same time she warned me about the good times I’d have with Help Wanted.

This recap is a little different. For one thing, there will be no counters. I tried to add them in after I wrote the first draft, but they felt frivolous and distracting from the main point, which is: this book is at times a pointed commentary on rape culture, and the recap expands on that theme. A lot. Nearly 16,000 words worth of a lot. This is a recap of Home Before Dark. It points out all the things we love and hate about Point Horrors and its ilk, as always. But Home Before Dark actually handles the rape aspect fairly well, and certainly better than Help Wanted did. This is more than a recap.

The timing on this is important as well. Rape is in the news in the USA because Brock Turner, a convicted rapist, was given six months in the Stanford rape case. SIX FUCKING MONTHS. Judge Aaron Persky gave him a lenient sentence because, and I fucking quote, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”

Let that sink in. A prison sentence, as punishment for a crime he has fucking been convicted for months ago, would have a severe impact on him. The criminal. Who cares about the impact on the survivor, right?

This is rape culture. We live in rape culture. It is constantly stewing all around us. Slut shaming. Victim blaming. It mixes with racism and white supremacy. Letting white rapists off because punishment will hurt them, and they were just drunk, and boys will be boys. Punishing black rapists because they are thugs and dangerous and We Must Save the White Women From Dangerous Black Men. Asking girls and women what they did to not be raped, how much they fought, but didn’t you really like it a little. She was asking for it. Look at what she was wearing. She was drunk, it’s her fault versus he was drunk, it’s not his fault.

The most shocking part of all of this actually isn’t that he got six months, and will likely be out in three. It is that he was charged and found guilty and sentenced at all. It is that the media covered it at all. Most rapes go unreported, or if they are reported, they aren’t investigated, or if they are investigated, no one is ever charged, or if they are charged, they are not convicted. Most rapes do not receive media coverage, particularly if it involves women of color, queer women, queer women of color, men as the victims — rape is endemic to our society.

So yeah. We often get serious around here, but this even more serious than usual, even more of a social commentary than usual, even more a shout of rage than usual. I am Wing, and I am a rape survivor, and I am angry.

[Dove: I can’t remember who said it, but I’ve seen it going around the internet: rape and crimes of that ilk are the only ones where the victim gets questioned so thoroughly. The example they gave is that when someone says, “I’ve been robbed, someone’s nicked my TV,” nobody replies with, “Oh. Are you sure you didn’t just give the TV away?”

Additionally, I find it particularly distasteful that his father referred to the rape of an unconscious non-consenting woman as “20 minutes of action”, which, no matter what his intention was regarding word choice, reads to me as “Look, he had a crap shag, and he’s off his food, pity him.” Actually, I find it utterly disgraceful that his father was trying to defend his actions in any way, shape or form. The wording just made it worse.

Obviously, given the subject matter, there probably won’t be much flippant goofing off in this recap. So my comments may be sparse.]

[Wing: Dove makes a great point. And not only has his father spoken out in his defense, so have his friends. I say this later in the recap, and I say it extensively, but to sum it up here: I can almost guarantee that (a) you know someone who is a rape survivor, and (b) you know someone who is a fucking rapist, no matter how nice or kind or good you think that person is.]