(If you are, you may want to skip this one)
My beloved and I are reading Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth right now. Or rather, he’s been reading it out loud to me for the past two weeks (if you don’t know, that thing is massive—983 pages of tightly crammed text). I aim to write a review whenever we are done with it, though I can advance the hint that if you don’t like a lot of description in your narrative, this one is probably not for you.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because today we reached a scene where I had to ask Issek to stop. Just flat out, I couldn’t handle what I knew was coming.
I am not naturally squeamish. Not only do I enjoy visually gory shows, such as CSI or Bones, but have no trouble reading violent scenes, and I have read rape scenes before. It’s not by any means something I like, but I have read them and have had no more than emotional discomfort—sometimes acute, but only an emotional reaction.
Not today. Today, I felt physically ill once I realized what was coming, and had to stop him from reading further, while trying not to burst into tears.
Or perhaps I’m hormonal?
I honestly cannot tell you.
It could be that it’s not the same to read violence against women on my own—or watch it on a screen, “outside” as it were—than to listen to the man I love describing it.
It could be that, while I won’t call Follet the best at writing characters, he takes pains to give the reader both the victim and the perpetrator’s point of view—which means being inside the rapist’s head as he is enjoying the victim’s fear and horror.
I don’t know. I only know that today, I just couldn’t handle it.
Has this ever happened to you?