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Book Review: Consent by Vanessa Springora

Consent by Vanessa Springora Review
Book Information

Title: Consent
Author: Vanessa Spring
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Source: Scribd
Trigger Warnings: Sexual abuse, Graphic sexual scenes.
Rating: 4/5


Sometimes, all it takes is a single voice to shatter the silence of complicity. 

Thirty years ago, Vanessa Springora was the teenage muse of one of the country’s most celebrated writers, a footnote in the narrative of a very influential man in the French literary world.

At the end of 2019, as women around the world began to speak out, Vanessa, now in her forties and the director of one of France’s leading publishing houses, decided to reclaim her own story, offering her perspective of those events sharply known.

Consent is the story of one precocious young girl’s stolen adolescence. Devastating in its honesty, Vanessa’s painstakingly memoir lays bare the cultural attitudes and circumstances that made it possible for a thirteen-year-old girl to become involved with a fifty-year-old man who happened to be a notable writer. As she recalls the events of her childhood and her seduction by one of her country’s most notable writers, Vanessa reflects on the ways in which this disturbing relationship changed and affected her as she grew older. 

Drawing parallels between children’s fairy tales and French history and her personal life, Vanessa offers an intimate and absorbing look at the meaning of love and consent and the toll of trauma and the power of healing in women’s lives. Ultimately, she offers a forceful indictment of a chauvinistic literary world that has for too long accepted and helped perpetuate gender inequality and the exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

The memoir Consent is an absolutely incredible read that explores the importance of consent and the devastating impact of non-consensual relationships. The author takes you on a journey through her life, from her earliest memories to the present day, and illustrates the power dynamics at play in every single moment.

The language used throughout the book is nothing short of magical – it’s both slippery and magnetic, drawing you in with a conversational tone that makes you feel like you’re sitting down with an old friend. And yet, it’s also incredibly powerful, with the author using clever and relatable anecdotes to bring the story to life.

I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t an easy read – the subject matter is heavy, and there are trigger warnings that you should definitely heed before diving in. But despite the difficulty, I found myself unable to put it down. The author writes about her less-than-ideal beginnings, her experiences with sex and relationships, and the individual who began her spiral downwards. This person inserted themselves into her life, isolated her from her peers, and turned her into a plaything.

Even when she believed she had escaped his clutches, he continued to haunt her. He wrote her letters, posted her pictures online, and published their correspondence in his books. The author’s bravery in telling her story is nothing short of remarkable, and it’s impossible not to feel for her and the countless others who have experienced something similar.

As I read, I found myself constantly pausing to research the names, books, and interviews mentioned in the text. And what I discovered was nothing short of horrifying – adults who were supposed to be guardians, mentors, and heroes were actually complicit in the abuse that the author suffered. This realization left me reeling, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of hopelessness about the state of the world.

But despite the heavy themes, there is a sense of hope in this book. The author’s courage in telling her story is inspiring, and her message about the importance of consent is one that everyone needs to hear. It’s a powerful reminder that evil exists in our society, but that we have the power to fight against it.

I highly recommend this book, but please do take note of the trigger warnings before diving in. The author’s descriptions can be graphic at times, so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the subject matter before starting.

Overall, Consent is an incredibly important book that everyone should read. It’s a whole bag of sadness, but it’s also a reminder that we can all make a difference in the fight against non-consensual relationships. So give it a read, and be prepared to be moved. And if you’re interested in more book reviews, be sure to check out my other content!

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