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Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir

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A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her--at any cost When the elite St. Paul's School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered a A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her--at any cost When the elite St. Paul's School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered at St. Paul's decades before, when she was fifteen. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note. Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she'd been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford's assault and gone to great lengths to bury it. Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. The slander, innuendo, and lack of adult concern that Crawford had experienced as a student hadn't been imagined as the effects of trauma, after all: these were the actions of a school that prized its reputation above anything, even a child. This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America's elite. Her investigation looks beyond the sprawling playing fields and soaring chapel towers of crucibles of power like St. Paul's, whose reckoning is still to come. And it runs deep into the channels of shame and guilt, witness and silencing, that dictate who can speak and who is heard in American society. An insightful, mature, beautifully written memoir, Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor's story will finally force a remedy?


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A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her--at any cost When the elite St. Paul's School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered a A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her--at any cost When the elite St. Paul's School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered at St. Paul's decades before, when she was fifteen. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note. Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she'd been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford's assault and gone to great lengths to bury it. Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. The slander, innuendo, and lack of adult concern that Crawford had experienced as a student hadn't been imagined as the effects of trauma, after all: these were the actions of a school that prized its reputation above anything, even a child. This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America's elite. Her investigation looks beyond the sprawling playing fields and soaring chapel towers of crucibles of power like St. Paul's, whose reckoning is still to come. And it runs deep into the channels of shame and guilt, witness and silencing, that dictate who can speak and who is heard in American society. An insightful, mature, beautifully written memoir, Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor's story will finally force a remedy?

30 review for Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Quick thoughts: Important, timely, exceptional on audio (the author narrates). Lacy Crawford was silenced in every way after a sexual assault while she attended boarding school. She has found her voice and bravely shares her story. More thoughts to come. Thank you to Little Brown, Hachette Audio, and Libro.fm for the advanced listening copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader Quick thoughts: Important, timely, exceptional on audio (the author narrates). Lacy Crawford was silenced in every way after a sexual assault while she attended boarding school. She has found her voice and bravely shares her story. More thoughts to come. Thank you to Little Brown, Hachette Audio, and Libro.fm for the advanced listening copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    “The teachers, rectors, lawyers, and priests of St. Paul’s School lied to preserve their legacy. It would take decades to learn not to hate the girl they disparaged, and to give her the words she deserved.” Notes on a Silencing is a profoundly poignant memoir and a deeply moving account of a young girl’s sexual assault and its aftermath. With clarity and precision, Crawford describes her time at St. Paul's School, an elite boarding school in New Hampshire, where, at the age of fifteen, she was “The teachers, rectors, lawyers, and priests of St. Paul’s School lied to preserve their legacy. It would take decades to learn not to hate the girl they disparaged, and to give her the words she deserved.” Notes on a Silencing is a profoundly poignant memoir and a deeply moving account of a young girl’s sexual assault and its aftermath. With clarity and precision, Crawford describes her time at St. Paul's School, an elite boarding school in New Hampshire, where, at the age of fifteen, she was sexually assaulted by two older students, both of whom went unpunished and were able to graduate with awards. The physical violence of the assault is followed by a different kind of violence when the school, more concerned with its own reputation than pursuing the matter, silences her. Crawford revisits the assault, the months that led up to it and what followed. She recreates the atmosphere and toxic culture of St. Paul’s, a place predominantly attended by the children of WASP families. Although Crawford’s vision of this rarefied world is far from idealistic, she also writes about the friendships she formed at St. Paul’s. Yet, after her assault rumours begin spreading and Crawford is labelled a ‘slut’ and ostracised by her friend and fellow students. Crawford exposes the double standards applied to male and female sexuality that enables victim blaming. With the pace and tension of a psychological thriller, Crawford revisits these events both through the eyes of the fifteen-year-old and with new adult insight. She details the mental and physical anguish of the assault and its traumatic aftereffects. By showing St. Paul's as a microcosm of society, Crawford reveals the underlining mechanisms that permit systemic abuse of power. Notes on a Silencing is a gripping and powerful memoir, one that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. A few quotes: “The simplest way I can tell the story of my assault is to describe how the boys made me feel I was no longer a person. The first violation was erasure.” “In bearing witness, we're trying to correct a theft of power via a story. But power and stories, while deeply interconnected, are not the same things. One is rock, the other is water. Over time, long periods of time, water always wins.” “If one of the great sources of misery for all high schoolers is the illusion that high school will never end, the reach of power implied (and wielded) by the alumni and trustees of St. Paul's School threatened that in our particular case, that nightmare was real.” “We were people on this earth. This life was all we had. It was all we fucking had, and life, my life, could not be determined by cruelty like this. It could not be allowed to stand.” “If the first violation of the boys who assaulted me was the way they made me feel erased, it was exactly this injury that the school repeated, and magnified, when it created its own story of the assault. This time the erasure was committed by men whose power over me was socially conferred rather than physically wielded, by men who—some of them—had never ever been in a room with me. They still never have.” “I did not want to write it because it should not matter, but of course it does, because a girl who is attacked will so often assume the fault lies with her. There is no escaping a primal culpability.” “When the boys did what they did to me, they denied the third person on that bed. I had no humanity. The impact of this violation only sharpened with time. My careful distinctions of injury and responsibility—the difference I imagined between what they did and rape, between terrible things you should put behind you and truly hellish things no one would expect you to bear—allowed me, for many years, to restore that third person in the room in my mind.” “I recognized the school’s act, of course. Its precise cruelty, the fanged transformation of private pain into public shame, turned a key in me.” “Why now?’”A typically defensive question, and I could dismiss it for its insinuation that I had some underhanded motive whose tell was my delay in availing myself of the criminal justice system. I’m not sure what motive that would have been—I wasn’t suing, wasn’t pressing charges. But that wasn’t the point of the question. The question tries to portray the victim as the predator, the one with a clever plan. It aims to throw the whole circumstance on its head.” “The work of telling is essential, and it is not enough. There is always the danger that the energy of the injustice will exhaust itself in the revelation—that we will be horrified but remain unchanged. The reason for this, I suspect, is that these are stories we all already know. A girl was assaulted. A boy was molested. The producer, the judge, the bishop, the boss. To hear these stories spoken aloud is jarring, but not because it causes us to reconsider who we are and how we are organized. It is only when power is threatened that power responds.” “It’s so simple, what happened at St. Paul’s. It happens all the time. First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me. On balance, if this is a girl’s trajectory from dignity to disappearance, I say it is better to be a slut than to be silent. I believe, in fact, that the slur slut carries within it, Trojan-horse style, silence as its true intent. That the opposite of slut is not virtue but voice.” “ Consequences were not our concern. The school’s rules were not even called rules—they were formally known as expectations. Here the children of the elite were trained not in right or wrong but in projections of belief.” Read more reviews on my blog / / / View all my reviews on Goodreads

  3. 4 out of 5

    sarah xoxo

    "First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me" Notes on a Silencing was a powerful and emotional look at sexual assault, privilege, power and corruption within the very institutions charged with protecting young people. In this memoir, Lacy Crawford retells her experiences at St Paul School and beyond- the repercussions the rape and subsequent silencing of her voice has on her decades later. This book provided a detailed and nuanced look at the darkness lurking wi "First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me" Notes on a Silencing was a powerful and emotional look at sexual assault, privilege, power and corruption within the very institutions charged with protecting young people. In this memoir, Lacy Crawford retells her experiences at St Paul School and beyond- the repercussions the rape and subsequent silencing of her voice has on her decades later. This book provided a detailed and nuanced look at the darkness lurking within one of the most prestigious New England schools, and the measures they will take to suppress victims. Not only was it informative and eye opening, but also riveting. We follow Lacy from her early teens to middle age, and it truly felt like we watched her grow up. And it was a rollercoaster to say the least. I felt the emotions she described vividly- everything from shame to fear to anger. This experience was only exemplified by listening to the audiobook , which the author herself narrates. I would highly recommend listening. While some anecdotes felt slightly out of place, and I was occasionally confused by the non-linear timeline- in hindsight it added to the reality of the narrative. A sexual assault is a messy, confusing thing. Having a polished and unblemished account of it would therefore be inaccurate. So while I had some issues with the execution, I could not justify rating this any less than the 5 stars it so thoroughly deserves. “I had spent so much time considering the challenge of bearing witness, of finding ways to transcribe experience so other people would understand. The work of telling is essential, and it is not enough. There is always the danger that the energy of the injustice will exhaust itself in the revelation—that we will be horrified but remain unchanged.” Lacy Crawford is an immensely talented author, and I absolutely commend her for telling this important, relevant and deeply moving story. I hope this reaches those that need to hear it. I hope this scathing account prevents such events from occurring again. I hope this allows others to tell their truth, and us to hear and help them. Thank you to Hachette Audio and Libro.fm for this ALC Release Date: 7 July 2020

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    A heartbreaking and important memoir about sexual violence at a boarding school, and the equal violence done to the victim by the school’s cover-up. This story begins with the brutal assault, and then works back from the beginning to put Lacy’s rape in the context of the powerful, abusive and silencing environment of her prep school. Crawford writes beautifully about an ugly experience and your heart hurts for the girl who went through it. At the same time you will marvel at how strong and brave A heartbreaking and important memoir about sexual violence at a boarding school, and the equal violence done to the victim by the school’s cover-up. This story begins with the brutal assault, and then works back from the beginning to put Lacy’s rape in the context of the powerful, abusive and silencing environment of her prep school. Crawford writes beautifully about an ugly experience and your heart hurts for the girl who went through it. At the same time you will marvel at how strong and brave it was of her years later to write such a searing account that shows the true faces of not only of the boys who did this to her, but if a school who knew about this assault and others like it, and protected the perpetrators and silenced the victims for decades. Since #MeToo, there have been a number of books (both memoir and fictionalized) on this topic, and it’s striking and sad how different each one is, and yet also how many similarities they share. This book is exceptionally powerful, personal and well-written. Even if you have fatigue on this subject (to which I say: let’s not, until we can stop it from happening to anyone ever again) this book is an exceptional memoir and an extremely important one. I’m very sure it will help a lot of women and girls to read. Though I find it hard at times to read books like this, I consider it important. As we’ve recently learned from #MeToo, many, many women have experienced some degree of harassment or violation in their lives. With this book, though at times painful to read, I cared so much for Lacy and understood her so well that I wanted a positive outcome for her so badly, and her compelling and honest voice kept me turning the pages. The way the book put this in context of the Kavanaugh hearings at the end was perfect and almost too much to bear. Many thanks to NetGalley, Little, Brown and Lacy Crawford for the ARC of this excellent book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    This makes me so furious that I can't think straight. The Episcopalians are just as bad as the Catholics when it comes to their handling of sexual abuse. Protect the institution at any cost. It's all about money and power and prestige. Use threats and humiliation to silence those who speak out. Deny and distort their stories. What's a few shattered lives when the reputations of the privileged are at stake?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl S

    "First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me" Never have I read such a powerful description of life after an assault. The lengths taken to keep the statutory sexual assault silent is just infuriating. Only not everyone was so silent. She lived it all the time in the snide comments and treatment of those around her. Not only did the perpetrators do this, they talked about it. "We are people on this earth. This life is all we had. It was all we fucking had, and life "First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me" Never have I read such a powerful description of life after an assault. The lengths taken to keep the statutory sexual assault silent is just infuriating. Only not everyone was so silent. She lived it all the time in the snide comments and treatment of those around her. Not only did the perpetrators do this, they talked about it. "We are people on this earth. This life is all we had. It was all we fucking had, and life, my life, could not be determined by cruelty like this." Oh but it was. Years and years worth. All from one act of violence. To rate this raw account of Lacys life anything but 5 stars would be just as disgraceful. It was such a well written account, I could almost feel myself in her head. With every shameful comment like a slap to my own face. Thank you Little, Brown and Company for providing me a copy of this amazingly written story in a Goodreads Giveaway. I'm a different person because I read this. 5 SOLID STARS.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)

    Lacy Crawford's powerful memoir addresses her time at the elite private high school, St. Paul's in rural New Hampshire during the early 1990s. During her fifth form year at the young age of 15, Lacy was viciously assaulted by two boys, aged 18. Confused, scared, and alone, Lacy reacted like many individuals may, she retreated. Quickly, the situation spiraled out of control. Ashamed, Lacy hadn't said a word to anyone about the assault. In fact, she wasn't even certain she had been assaulted as she Lacy Crawford's powerful memoir addresses her time at the elite private high school, St. Paul's in rural New Hampshire during the early 1990s. During her fifth form year at the young age of 15, Lacy was viciously assaulted by two boys, aged 18. Confused, scared, and alone, Lacy reacted like many individuals may, she retreated. Quickly, the situation spiraled out of control. Ashamed, Lacy hadn't said a word to anyone about the assault. In fact, she wasn't even certain she had been assaulted as she kept trying to minimize the event in her mind. But when her throat hurt weeks later and she was barely able to eat, she realized she required medical attention. Never however did the school ask how her throat had become so infected. In fact, the school never even told her what was wrong. Only later did Lacy learn that she had contracted herpes from the assault - so far down her throat that they couldn't even be seen without a medical device. Later that year, after suffering more violence at the hands of men and more cruelty from her peers, the St. Paul's coaching staff humiliate her even more by informing their student athletes that if they had been intimate with Lacy Crawford, they were at risk for contracting a sexual disease. Violating her privacy, shaming her into silence, and opening the door for ridicule and abuse, the very teachers, chaplains, and authority figures that should have been protecting her, failed Lacy again and again. This was a challenging read. The trauma Lacy endured and her reactions to it were devastating and heartbreaking. So much of her story resonated with me. Victimized again and again by the boys, the system, her school, doctors, and even her family, Lacy was utterly alone. We learn Lacy's story - the ugly truth of it. Lacy is brutally honest not only about the attacks, but also about her ownership to her reaction and all events surrounding the attacks. Her honesty is refreshing and reminds us that the violence she endured was because of no fault of her own. I also loved how she opened the story by addressing language and the various terminology surrounding rape and sexual assault. She raised so many excellent points that really make you think about how society has normalized violence against women - so much so, that many women aren't even sure when they've been the victim of an assault. The timeline was a bit challenging as it's nonlinear. Overall, I did think it worked for the book because it gave us a bigger picture of Lacy's entire life at St. Paul's, it didn't easily define a "before" and "after" the initial assault, and I think it put us more in the mindset of a 15 year old.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Rummel

    I received this in a Goodreads Giveaway and count myself privileged to get to read it before it is published in 2020. This retelling of the author's sexual assault by two students at her boarding school, and the almost more horrific lies and cover up by the school's administration, had me in its grip for the beginning. I worried for the author, every page made me anxious to see her protected from the cruel and cowardly attacks on her as a person. The facts of this story are complicated and took I received this in a Goodreads Giveaway and count myself privileged to get to read it before it is published in 2020. This retelling of the author's sexual assault by two students at her boarding school, and the almost more horrific lies and cover up by the school's administration, had me in its grip for the beginning. I worried for the author, every page made me anxious to see her protected from the cruel and cowardly attacks on her as a person. The facts of this story are complicated and took decades to uncover completely but Lacy Crawford clearly details the evil that is alive and well among the rich and privileged. Women still have to fight to be believed and are shamed for having been assaulted. Things are slowly beginning to change somewhat but I shudder to think of all the women and girls who will never receive the justice they deserve.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah D Bunting

    An infuriating stunner.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    This is a very difficult story to review. Lacy from the very beginning describes the graphic, horrifying sexual assault she experienced at a prestigious boarding school that was covered up by so many different people of power who should’ve protected her, and sadly did nothing but make her feel less human. ⁣ ⁣ This story is powerful, raw, graphic, and disturbing; but so important. Victims of sexual assault of any kind should not be silenced. This story shows how difficult it is for a person to over This is a very difficult story to review. Lacy from the very beginning describes the graphic, horrifying sexual assault she experienced at a prestigious boarding school that was covered up by so many different people of power who should’ve protected her, and sadly did nothing but make her feel less human. ⁣ ⁣ This story is powerful, raw, graphic, and disturbing; but so important. Victims of sexual assault of any kind should not be silenced. This story shows how difficult it is for a person to overcome something so awful, and shows how it impacts your life, from high school through to her late future.⁣ ⁣ “First they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me.”⁣ ⁣ Trigger warnings: graphic language, sexual assault, rape

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jodie (That Happy Reader)

    This has been one of the most difficult books that I have chosen to read and review. It is the story of the author’s own sexual assault, at the age of 15, while away at a St. Paul’s, a prestigious boarding school. I listened to the audiobook version which was narrated by the author herself , Lacy Crawford. The book begins with the actual assault, providing the reader with the shock factor right from the beginning. The horrific consequences of the assault are laid out slowly, as the author begins This has been one of the most difficult books that I have chosen to read and review. It is the story of the author’s own sexual assault, at the age of 15, while away at a St. Paul’s, a prestigious boarding school. I listened to the audiobook version which was narrated by the author herself , Lacy Crawford. The book begins with the actual assault, providing the reader with the shock factor right from the beginning. The horrific consequences of the assault are laid out slowly, as the author begins a discussion of her life both before and after the assault. This includes various health care providers, some who intentionally misdiagnosed Lacy and the cover up of the event by the school and local authorities when she finally is able to tell her parents. Regrettably, the students which assaulted her were never held accountable and instead graduated with awards. Lacy was herself a brilliant student. While at St. Paul’s she witnessed a hierarchy which was multi-faceted. Misogyny was rampant. Her assault was communicated by the students involved as one she consensually participated in. Her reputation was marred and she was called a slut. This, along with her eventual diagnosis, were spread all over the school campus including by some faculty. The rector, no better. Unfortunately Lacy’s assault is not a one-off. Indeed, other students approached Lacy with their own experiences. Then, many years after she graduated, Lacy learns her case has been reopened. Will she finally receive justice to this horrific event? While this was an emotionally difficult read, my hope is that the author has experienced some healing as a result of finally getting her words out to the world. The #MeToo movement has certainly brought to our attention the sadly widespread nature of incidents such as this. I not only feel empathy towards Lacy, but also her parents who believed they were sending their bright daughter to an academic environment which would provide her with opportunities that the public system may not be able to afford her. I can only imagine their guilt for having sent her there. I was saddened to hear that Lacy is now estranged from them. I found that the synopsis of the book to be a little misleading - much of the book is about Lacy’s life before and after this event which was a little too much to keep this reader engaged. It is not until the last third of the book that the investigation information is relayed and I felt I was patiently waiting to read this. This is likely a book that will stay with me for quite some time. I recommend it to those that have an interest in the subject matter. Thanks to libro.fm , Hachette Audio and Little Brown Publishing for the ALC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Brave and exquisite. This memoir should be added to the list of necessary reading to understand the difficult emotional work and futures of sexual assault and rape survivors, as well as how institutions and individuals try to silence and stifle both the women and that same emotional work. I thought this was a stunning, courageous memoir.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dana M

    St. Paul’s is an actual dumpster fire of a school, with an old boys' club culture that has systematically silenced generations of young women. I would literally not send my child there if someone paid me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    rowan

    “I had spent so much time considering the challenge of bearing witness, of finding ways to transcribe experience so other people would understand. The work of telling is essential, and it is not enough. There is always the danger that the energy of the injustice will exhaust itself in the revelation—that we will be horrified but remain unchanged.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    4.5 - This is an extremely powerful memoir about a woman’s experience being sexually assaulted at a prestigious boarding school in the early 90s. Much of the story deals with explaining the culture of the school and how Lacy was treated by other students both before and after the assault. While this is a very harrowing topic, Lacy’s writing is beautiful. She was able to eloquently write about so many complex emotions that really hit me in my heart. A portion of the book that I wished was larger 4.5 - This is an extremely powerful memoir about a woman’s experience being sexually assaulted at a prestigious boarding school in the early 90s. Much of the story deals with explaining the culture of the school and how Lacy was treated by other students both before and after the assault. While this is a very harrowing topic, Lacy’s writing is beautiful. She was able to eloquently write about so many complex emotions that really hit me in my heart. A portion of the book that I wished was larger were the ways that the people in power at the school worked to keep her assault under wraps. Based on the synopsis of the book I thought that was going to be a larger focus. It definitely is covered, but I think I went into the book expecting more of a journalistic take on the school. This book really works to show the different ways that sexual assault can impact someone’s life for decades and how many schools prefer to protect themselves rather than protect students.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    DNF @ 70 pages. The book is very slow-paced (despite the jarring first few pages) and the story jumps back and forth throughout time; both issues are causing me to have a difficult time following it. I think she’s brave for putting her story out there but I’m too distracted by my annoyance at some of the pretentious word choices (Pharaonic?) and mentions of things like reading Baudelaire - voluntarily, in French - at age 14. (Ok, sure, I was a French major and took an entire class on Baudelaire DNF @ 70 pages. The book is very slow-paced (despite the jarring first few pages) and the story jumps back and forth throughout time; both issues are causing me to have a difficult time following it. I think she’s brave for putting her story out there but I’m too distracted by my annoyance at some of the pretentious word choices (Pharaonic?) and mentions of things like reading Baudelaire - voluntarily, in French - at age 14. (Ok, sure, I was a French major and took an entire class on Baudelaire in France in French and still have no clue what his poems were about...)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Landers

    I really wanted to like this book. The topic of the book is so heartbreaking and the author went through such an awful thing while she was at an elite New England boarding school (TW: sexual assault, rape). However, I really struggled to read this book. Not because of the rape, which was at times hard to read about but the majority of the book just detailed the author's life at school. I found it jumped around a lot and struggled to keep up with the timeline and also with the number of character I really wanted to like this book. The topic of the book is so heartbreaking and the author went through such an awful thing while she was at an elite New England boarding school (TW: sexual assault, rape). However, I really struggled to read this book. Not because of the rape, which was at times hard to read about but the majority of the book just detailed the author's life at school. I found it jumped around a lot and struggled to keep up with the timeline and also with the number of characters coming in and out of the book. I thought it was choppy and also - I hate to say it - but was also disinterested at times with certain details the author indulged in. The book was also just really long and it was hard to stay engaged and wasn't helped by the more "high brow" word choices the author used.. I really commend the author for being brave and vulnerable talking about her experiences and also exposing her former school for their multiple cover-ups and I feel really bad for giving it this review but I have to be honest with how I reacted and engaged with the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and I'm thankful I did! I'm not a huge fan of memoirs but I really like mysteries and cover ups and so I was interested in reading this book from that perspective. I found it engaging and well written, I never lost interest or felt bored reading it. Generally speaking, I find the whole #metoo movement monotonous and maybe that skews my perspective to some degree and possibly I would have rated it a little higher. I feel like there are so I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and I'm thankful I did! I'm not a huge fan of memoirs but I really like mysteries and cover ups and so I was interested in reading this book from that perspective. I found it engaging and well written, I never lost interest or felt bored reading it. Generally speaking, I find the whole #metoo movement monotonous and maybe that skews my perspective to some degree and possibly I would have rated it a little higher. I feel like there are so very many people who have found themselves in situations that put them at risk of harm and when things go awry they don't take the necessary steps to stop the situation from progressing further. In the author's case, she acknowledges that she made little attempt to do anything to prevent what was happening to her nor was it reported immediately afterward (not that reporting it would have resulted in any punishment for the assailants). Unlike many of the people coming forward with #metoo stories, I wasn't left with the impression that this author's goal was financial gain but to have her story heard, fully and by many, and to shed light on the corruption within the institution. This was appreciated. I feel like this is a valuable literary work, especially for parents who might have the opportunity to have their young teenagers read this so that they can recognize an attempted assault and know to do something that might prevent it as well as recognize behavior that is, in fact, assault and refrain from participating in it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jordana Horn Gordon

    Fierce. Compelling. Graphic. Critically necessary. I want all high school kids and their parents to read this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    The memoir of Lacy Crawford is one that will invoke rage, and it should. I am saddened and I'm appalled but sadly, I am not surprised that a prestigious school like St. Paul's would go out of their way to silence a survivor of sexual abuse. And that is exactly what should envoke rage in you - the sheer fact that acts of sexual abuse happen everywhere but power and money are enough to brush it under the rug. I am in awe of Lacy's courage and the courage of many others who came forward after her t The memoir of Lacy Crawford is one that will invoke rage, and it should. I am saddened and I'm appalled but sadly, I am not surprised that a prestigious school like St. Paul's would go out of their way to silence a survivor of sexual abuse. And that is exactly what should envoke rage in you - the sheer fact that acts of sexual abuse happen everywhere but power and money are enough to brush it under the rug. I am in awe of Lacy's courage and the courage of many others who came forward after her to go after St. Paul's and their abusers. Lacy was able to recount her experience with such bravery. I only hope that this book was a source of healing and allowed her to speak her truth without being held down by a system built on silencing survivors. This book should be required reading and should be a wake up call to better educate boys and men.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kayleigh 2babesandabookshelf

    DNF at 60% - full review coming

  22. 4 out of 5

    Avid

    A solid 5-star read. I hate that this sort of book has become its own category of writing (can boys and men please just stop raping?), but within its category, this is one of the better-written memoirs i’ve read. There is a lot here about her time at the school where the rape occurred, outside of the act itself and the facts surrounding it. Running and dogs and first loves and academics and the families of America’s elites; eating and dorm life and medicine and counseling; nature and travel and A solid 5-star read. I hate that this sort of book has become its own category of writing (can boys and men please just stop raping?), but within its category, this is one of the better-written memoirs i’ve read. There is a lot here about her time at the school where the rape occurred, outside of the act itself and the facts surrounding it. Running and dogs and first loves and academics and the families of America’s elites; eating and dorm life and medicine and counseling; nature and travel and parents. There was so much i could relate to, even though we don’t share the experience that becomes the nexus for writing this memoir. I can recommend this book to almost anyone because there is so much shared humanity here. The fact that she exposes ongoing coverups of criminal and predatory activity and perpetrators that continue to today makes this required reading for the masses. Get on it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Mae

    the amount of this book that i highlighted is unconstitutional.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    If this sort of rape/assault memoir is now a genre (which is so depressing), this is one of the best. Sometimes an author is too close to the event (I thought Chantel Miller's was a bit too close) and sometimes it's treated like a court case (a lot of the journalist ones are like that). This one is perfect--she has processed the event and has some real wisdom to offer, but she still describes her assault in boarding school with vivid clarity and you feel 15 with her. She also treats the topic of If this sort of rape/assault memoir is now a genre (which is so depressing), this is one of the best. Sometimes an author is too close to the event (I thought Chantel Miller's was a bit too close) and sometimes it's treated like a court case (a lot of the journalist ones are like that). This one is perfect--she has processed the event and has some real wisdom to offer, but she still describes her assault in boarding school with vivid clarity and you feel 15 with her. She also treats the topic of wealth and privilege in here in a pretty honest way.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    Wow, what a powerhouse of a memoir. I listened to this on audio (thanks Libro.fm) and Lacy Crawford tells the tale herself in this haunting and beautiful way. Her story is oftentimes hard to stomach, jaw-droppingly infuriating, and on numerous occasions brought tears to my eyes. The story of a girl made victim time and again at a boarding school that did everything it could to cover up its indiscretions, and has been doing so for decades.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    Absolutely phenomenal. Outrageously compelling writing. Incredible story. A must read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kait Vanderlaan

    I’m having a hard time deciding what to say for this review. On one hand, this book is painfully slow and filled with mundane details that just didn’t catch my interest. On the other hand, I appreciate the author’s vulnerability in sharing her experiences relating to being assaulted and silenced. This is an important topic, one that all too often is silenced. Content wise this is a powerful read but it’s not super engaging. I’m so glad this book was written, but it’s likely not something you’ll I’m having a hard time deciding what to say for this review. On one hand, this book is painfully slow and filled with mundane details that just didn’t catch my interest. On the other hand, I appreciate the author’s vulnerability in sharing her experiences relating to being assaulted and silenced. This is an important topic, one that all too often is silenced. Content wise this is a powerful read but it’s not super engaging. I’m so glad this book was written, but it’s likely not something you’ll be glued to and read in a day.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Flores

    I thought, on putting this book on hold through my library, that it would be an account of the author's life and search for justice after being sexually assaulted as a junior at a New England boarding school. There was such an account in this book, but it comprised the last ~third of the book; the first two-thirds or so was an account of Lacy's life at the boarding school itself, before, around the time of, and immediately after her assault. I found myself disinterested, to the point of aversion I thought, on putting this book on hold through my library, that it would be an account of the author's life and search for justice after being sexually assaulted as a junior at a New England boarding school. There was such an account in this book, but it comprised the last ~third of the book; the first two-thirds or so was an account of Lacy's life at the boarding school itself, before, around the time of, and immediately after her assault. I found myself disinterested, to the point of aversion, in details about how the school operated. From the norms the students perpetuated all the way up to those enforced by the school itself, it was just disgustingly, self-satisfactorily excessive. It feels like the kind of entitlement and excess that shouldn't be allowed, children with this amount of swaggering assurance in their future prospects, this amount of money and resources on hand. But then, once the wind-up of the prep-school setting is complete, there's the pitch of her actual story, and what this school's administration, the adults in the room so to speak, did to her. It is devastating and infuriating. It will make you want to burn this school to the ground, even if you, like me, didn't even know it existed before reading this book. Parts of this book felt rushed, as though they hadn't been given a good once over. She dwells overlong on some details, repeats some scenes and ideas in a way that didn't seem terribly effective, brushes past things that should either be fleshed out or omitted, and goes dizzyingly fast through her life since leaving St. Paul's. But then this must have been a disorienting ordeal of thing to write. It wouldn't surprise me to learn it had been written in a month. It's worth reading for the depiction of how heartbreakingly normal her reactions to her assault were, and how frank she is about the carnage it wrought it her life. It's also worth reading to remind yourself of how evil institutions can be, and how privilege shields the worst of the worst from accountability, change, or justice.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    What a stunning and horrifying book this is. That an institution as revered as St. Paul's would purposely try to damage a young girl's reputation after she was molested by two fellow students in the early 90s. After reading this I realized that the sense of entitlement that led male bosses to take liberties with young women in offices is a learned behaviour from an early age. Feted as something special because they play sports and given a wide berth for their bad grades and indiscretions. Lacy's What a stunning and horrifying book this is. That an institution as revered as St. Paul's would purposely try to damage a young girl's reputation after she was molested by two fellow students in the early 90s. After reading this I realized that the sense of entitlement that led male bosses to take liberties with young women in offices is a learned behaviour from an early age. Feted as something special because they play sports and given a wide berth for their bad grades and indiscretions. Lacy's story is haunting and tragic and I am glad that she shared it. One of the best books I've read in a long time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford A naive young girl barely old enough to start her menstrual cycle is sent thousand miles away to a prestigious boarding school where she is assaulted by two adult 18 year old men and the assault does not end in the room where it occurred! This is a true story and the sad fact is that as the author points out this type of behavior happens time and time again all across the nation in colleges and high schools. Her assault is not an isolated event! The torture o Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford A naive young girl barely old enough to start her menstrual cycle is sent thousand miles away to a prestigious boarding school where she is assaulted by two adult 18 year old men and the assault does not end in the room where it occurred! This is a true story and the sad fact is that as the author points out this type of behavior happens time and time again all across the nation in colleges and high schools. Her assault is not an isolated event! The torture of being raped and she may not have been raped by intercourse but she was raped by the injustice of the system at the school, St.Pauls and by the medical system and the criminal justice system and her own peers. But, what’s even more devastating to me is the lack of support and emotional support from her own parents! Her parents should have pulled her from that school regardless of what they thought it could do for them or her as far as political connections! My goodness this is your child and you are allowing a school to tell you that your daughter has loose morals when you know that is a lie! How can you allow a man you barely know say things about your family when she is telling you differently! I realize that critical medical information was withheld, but I would believe my daughter over two boys that I do not know what kind of animals would do that type of perversion to a child! These _boys__ could not be content with keeping what they did to themselves, oh no they had to brag about their perversion to others. So, needless to say girls started to talk about her and would alienate her from activities. Other boys made suggestive innuendos about sexual relations with her! Then the school raked her over the coals and instead of being the protector and advocate for her as they should have as an Educational system, they blamed her and made her feel isolated! Years later the author found out that the school withheld important medical information from her parents and her local pediatrician just so they could protect their reputations as a fine educational program and to insure that those nice fine upstanding predators who perpetrated an act of violence on a child were free to do it to others! Lacy Crawford may not have been able to put these two men behind bars or sue the school, but she is having her defining moment!! She is no longer being silenced! This situation I am sure after years of retelling and reliving might have desensitized a person, but in reading this book, she is anything but that!! She lived this horrific event made even more hellacious because of the officials at St.Paul’s School ! However, she became stronger and has a loving husband and two beautiful children! Before opening up this can of worms by writing this book, she asked her husband first! His response was “Burn it down!” I love this man! He obviously is very supportive and the kind of person that she so deserves after the nightmare that she has had to endure! This book is highly recommended and one minute you will feel anger and tearful and joy even! I hope the author continues to write other books because she has a cohesive flair in creating a storyline! I would love to see even something that is not based on her life but maybe a romance because I think she has the talent for writing! I received a advanced copy from netgally and I am willingly giving my thoughts and opinions!!!

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