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A Dish Served Cold

A Dish Served Cold - Andrew Ashling This is one of those rare occasions when the Epilogue not only works brilliantly but adds a whole new dimension to the book which made me want to read it all over again.There's a lot going on beneath the surface. Take the time to get to know the situation and the characters and, because it's first person POV, remember that the narrator can sometimes be harsher on himself than he needs to be.Some reviewers have reacted to the blurb, which is understandable. This bit particularly: "There is one upside to almost getting raped. It proves that you're at least desirable to someone.Those sentences need to be read with a sardonic tone rather than a heartfelt one. The narrator (and assumably the author's) reaction to rape is by no means condoning it. Perhaps the full quote from the book sums the situation up better after the narrator averted an attempted rape by use of words and threats.“You're awfully quiet, dear” my mother said in the car on the way home.“Oh, I'm just a little bit tired, that's all,” I answered.In fact, I was mulling over the events of that afternoon. Why hadn't I told on Geoffrey? What had tipped the scales? Well, I was not too sure. I truly pitied the guy. It couldn't be easy being him, what with his looks, and his craving for young boys. And like my mother always said: “Nobody deserves to be made a slave. I don't care what they're supposed to have done. It not only degrades the victim, it also degrades us as a society”. I tended to agree with her. If you think that was noble of me, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you. There was also a considerable measure of self preservation involved. I would have had to recount the whole sordid affair in embarrassingly intimate details to the police and almost certainly repeat it again publicly in court. The story would have been all over the papers. Who needed this kind of notoriety? School was hard enough without being known as the boy who almost got fucked in the ass. No, thank you very much, it was enough that Geoffrey had believed I was prepared to involve the authorities.Thoughts of an altogether different nature raged also through my mind. Until today I had paid little attention to my looks. It had come as a surprise to me that my appearance could drive somebody as far as to lose control and throw all caution to the wind. As distasteful as the whole episode had been, it was also kind of flattering in a weird, twisted way. Maybe, I thought, I can make Sean Denham see what Geoffrey Singer had seen.That quote in the blurb is trying to convey the narrator's attitude to life in general rather than his attitude to rape itself.In fact, the following shows that not only does he hate the act, but he pities the man who actually commits rape (later in the story) on another character who had made his body freely available to a basketball team:"If only he had let him. If only he had asked. Instead, the dirt bag had masturbated in him."The story is, in essence, about a young man gradually developing a sense of what's right and wrong in his society and acting on it. He hates bullies who abuse their power and hurt those who aren't in a position to fight back, on all levels: sexual, psychological and eventually political.