Book Review: Consent

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

Consent is a hauntingly brilliant memoir that explores the invalidity of non-consensual relationships. From birth till the present, a map is drawn connecting the dots and breathing life to every bus stop on her journey to full ownership of her body.

Told with prosaic valor and with language slippery yet magnetic, I found this an incredibly easy listen. The author masterfully interweaves clever and relatable anecdotes into her story and manages to draw you in with a conversational tone.

I freely admit that the subject matter of this book made it somewhat difficult to read (check the trigger warnings) and I circled it countlessly, refusing to be drawn into this world of depraved morality. But, as with all things(and by the very nature of a circle), I found myself right where I started.

Consent follows the author’s less than ideal beginnings, her introduction to the concept of sex, her relationships with adult guardians, and the individual who would eventually be the beginning of her spiral downwards. He planted himself solidly in her life, alienated her from her peers, turned her into his very own plaything.

Even in adulthood, when she believed she had shaken off the last vestiges of his claim, he found her; assaulted her with a variety of colorful and pitiful letters; pasted her pictures online(under the guise of anonymity for legal reasons) causing her unwanted attention; and published a slew of their correspondence in his books. He was on a mission to haunt her.

Drawn from true-life events, I spent an inordinate amount of time listening because I kept pausing to research names, books, and interviews mentioned in the book. My verdict, therefore, is that adults or so-called “guardians” are oftentimes complicit in instances such as this.

This book asks the fundamental question of the validity of “consent.” What could be regarded as consent and who is capable of giving consent? Where does a guardian’s protection end and the ward’s free will begin? Could consent be regarded as valid if it is given in ignorance? Would consent be held to be valid when there is backhanded persuasion before it is granted? Let’s say the ward isn’t subjected to excessive pressure and is rather courted and fawned over, could that also be regarded as free consent. How much is “too much?”

I am still reeling from the discoveries I made while reading this book. People who have no business being around children occupy places of high positions in society and are looked upon as heroes. If this were just hearsay from newspaper companies, I might have been hardpressed to dig deeper to get more information. A more palatable explanation is that they were the targets of uncoordinated mudslinging attacks. That would have been easy to chew.

But, with the so-called gentlemen publishing biographies where they fess up (although “confession” is a bit of a stretch because they weren’t exactly lambasted for their opinions and activities) and claim for themselves all that people say about them, daring anyone to disapprove.

I now understand that evil lives and thrives in our society. When people are willing to overlook, mind their business, even when it is glaringly obvious of the harm being done, what hope could we have for such a world?

This book is a whole bag of sadness and it evoked so many conflicting feelings in me, the greatest of all helplessness because that little girl was so lost in the book. Lost in her family issues, lost in her school issues, and lost in “his” being. I wanted to hug her and hold her hand because I believe that what she was looking for was somebody. She needed somebody to hold her hand or look at her closely. Somebody to pay attention to her.

So, read this but please, and please remember to check out the trigger warnings. Very important. Not everyone can stomach heavy themes like this and it is important to be comfortable while reading. The author gets a bit too graphic in some scenes so, again, check the trigger warnings.

I got this book from Scribd and if you use this link, You get access to two months of free reading. I’m talking about two months of unlimited books, audiobooks, sheet music, documents, comics, and graphic novels. So, click this link, and if you have more questions or if you simply want to talk about this book, drop a comment below!

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Hello! My name is Preye and I am a 2nd-year law student at the University of Porthacourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. I love writing, reading and Korean dramas. When I am doing neither of these things, I can be found manifesting my inner Tina Snow on the dance floor.

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