Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel Book Review

There is no such thing as a perfect life. There are ups and downs, good times, and bad times. What matters is that we appreciate the good times and weather the bad times.

Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel, by Sarah Vaughan, was published in 2018. Sophie Whitehouse has it all: two healthy and happy children, a solid marriage, and a comfortable life. Everything she knows is shattered by two major revelations. The first is that her politician husband, James, has just confessed to having an affair with a younger female employee. The second is that he is accused of raping the woman whom he has been sleeping with. Sophie appears to be standing by her man, but she is quietly questioning if he is telling the truth.

Holy shit, this book is good. My first exposure to Anatomy of a Scandal was the Netflix miniseries that was released earlier this year. As expected, there are changes between the novel and the screenplay. What I loved about the narrative is that it is the women whose voices we hear. Though James is at the center of the scandal, his perspective is secondary. In another writer’s hands, James would be the main character and the women around him would be reduced to a stereotype. What Vaughan has wisely done is make all of her characters thoroughly human while giving a spotlight to those who have been ignored in the past.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.

Feminist Political News: Kathy Hochul Wins NYS Democratic Primary & Hillary Clinton Was Right

For most of human history, women have been ignored or thought to be crazy. If only we had listened to, the world might have been a different place.

Last week, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul won the Democratic Primary. She will be running against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin.

Barring any major problems or scandals, I will be voting for her in the general election in the fall. Her goal (unlike other politicians who shall remain nameless in this post) is to help and protect the citizens of this state. Her signature on recent gun control and reproductive rights legislation tells me everything I need to know about her values. She also, unlike her predecessor, has the temperament to work with the voters and legislators at every level of government.

Back in 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost to you know who in the Presidential election, I (along with millions of other Americans) was devastated. Instead of moving this country forward, we were torpedoed back into an era that many believed were in the past.

It has become clear that she was right. We were warned but refused to listen. Now we are on the verge of losing everything we hold dear because many of us believed the lies of you know who and his minions. If only we had listened…..

P.S.: Who else thinks that Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero? She will go down in history as a woman who stood up for democracy and the rule of law.

P.P.S: A ten-year-old girl was raped in Ohio. The result of the rape was a pregnancy. Because she was a hair past the deadline in which she could get an abortion in her state, she had to travel out of state to end the pregnancy. This is exactly why Roe v. Wade needs to be codified as a nationally enforced law. No one with a uterus should be forced to carry their rapist’s child. Especially a child.

Anatomy of a Scandal Review

It is a universal truth that men (especially those in politics) often think with the organ below their belt instead of the one in their head.

The new six-part Netflix miniseries, Anatomy of a Scandal, is based on the 2018 book of the same name by Sarah Vaughan. James Whitehouse (Rupert Friend) is a UK-based politician who has been accused of raping Olivia Lytton (Naomi Scott), his subordinate/paramour whose relationship has gone sour. While his college sweetheart/wife of twenty-plus years, Sophie Whitehouse (Sienna Miller) is standing by her husband, her resolve is tested.

Prosecuting the case is Kate Woodcroft (Michelle Dockery). Though she appears to be randomly chosen to represent the government, her connection to the case is much closer than anyone would guess.

Holy shit. The tension in this series is so thick that it could be cut with a knife. What starts out as a straightforward story morphs into twists and turns that made my mouth figuratively drop. Though I have never read the book (or even heard of it until I watched the on-screen adaptation), I am tempted to read it. The narrative is a roller coaster ride that is a thrill to watch and a unique way to explore a topic as tempestuous as sexual assault.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Anatomy of a Scandal is available for streaming on Netflix.

The TN Child Marriage Bill Tells Me Once Again Everything I Need to Know About the GOP

Marriage, in its ideal form, is the promise between two adults, who are ready, willing, and able to make what is hopefully a lifetime commitment. But the reality is that it is often used as a form of barter (with the woman being the thing being bartered) or a way of silencing an accusation of rape or pedophilia.

Last week, a bill was being passed through the Tennessee statehouse that would have opened the door for a grownup to marry a child. As of this weekend, it was amended to ensure that the couple saying their vows are at least eighteen. The only reason why the minimum age was added was because of a lot of people who made a lot of noise.

These people claim to represent “family values”. But their image of “family values” is rooted in the past. By attempting to control the lives of Americans via the anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ (i.e. the Don’t Say Gay law) legislation, they are again showing their true colors. They don’t care about the people of this country. They only care about catering to their base and the archaic ideas do not represent where this nation is going.

By holding onto what was, the GOP is holding us back. I firmly believe that we cannot let them do so. The only way to stop them is to vote them out and make sure that we have representatives in government who are doing the job we are paying them to do.

Outlander Season 6 Review

I apologize for the late publishing of this review. Life got in the way.

Warning: this review has spoilers from the end of season 5. Read at your own risk if you have not seen season 5.

For as much creativity as it takes to start a new narrative, it takes more creativity to continue in multiple segments. The writer(s) must be willing and able to expand their horizons and allow the characters to grow beyond their initial storyline.

The new season of Outlander premiered earlier this month on Starz. It starts not long after the previous season ended. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is still dealing with the emotional effects of being kidnapped and raped. Up until this point, she has been able to present a strong front and now show any weaknesses. But the experience has started to break down those walls.

In addition to being concerned about his wife, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is dealing with problems from his past and his present. Meeting up with an old rival, Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), and his children Malva (Jessica Reynolds) and Allan (Alexander Vlahos), he comes face to face with a part of his life he would rather forget. While this is happening, the Revolutionary War is slowly getting closer to Fraser’s Ridge, threatening to upend the lives of its residents.

So far, this season has lived up to my expectations and then some. What I love is that the first few episodes have focused on where the characters are emotionally. Add in the clouds of war on the horizon and the reaction will be nothing short of explosive.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Outlander airs on Sunday night at 9PM on Starz.

Season 4 Love GIF by Outlander - Find & Share on GIPHY

Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence Book Review

In 1991, when Anita Hill testified that that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, it was nothing short of earth shattering. Instead of letting the shame destroy her or pretend that it never happened, she took her case to Congress. This brave choice opened the door for victims of similar acts to get justice and ensure that the perpetrators got what they deserved.

Dr. Hill’s new book, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence, was published in September. Building on her very personal history of experiencing gender violence, she explores such subjects such as bullying, rape, the constant threat to the LGBTQ community, and the mind blowing comparison to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. In speaking openly about such topics that are often buried under the rug or not taken seriously, she is challenging the reader to speak up, speak out, and ensure that these injustices are finally given the spotlight they should have received a long time ago.

This book is nothing short of mind blowing. If there was ever a fire lit under our collective behinds, this book is the match. Thirty years ago, Dr. Hill opened the door, broke barriers, and inspired multiple generations of activists to stand on her impressive shoulders. She got the ball rolling, it is now up to us to finish the job.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement Book Review

Some people are born to change the world. Others change the world by a twist of fate, forcing them to step into the spotlight and speak for those who for any number of reasons, cannot do so themselves.

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement, by #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, was published last month. Born in the Bronx, Burke was sexually assaulted as a girl. Believing that she was at fault, she let the shame settle into her emotional bones and change her. She thought it could be simply hidden away and life would simply go on. But the experiences would force her to not just confront her own past, but how other women have lived with similar traumatic experiences. She specifically explores how those responsible for such heinous acts are often given a free pass. At the same time, their victims must live with the scarlet letter that is forced upon them for something they were not responsible for.

This book should be on every must-read list of 2021. In telling her own story, Burke speaks for the millions of women across the world, past, and present, who were called all sorts of names simply because some man thought they were there for his sexual pleasure. By calling out those who would shelter sexual predators and supporting those who have suffered, she is challenging all of us to break the status quo and make assault/rape the criminal act it should have been all along.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Don’t They Have More to Deal With in Texas Than Policing Women’s Bodies?

Abortion is more than the control of women’s bodies. It is the control of our destinies. Throughout most of human history, we have been beholden to the men around us. Now that we have been speaking up and taking control of our lives, the reaction by some (both men and women) is to pull us back via the figurative leash.

In Texas today, one of the most restrictive abortion bans became law today. One of the features of this law is that the average person on the street can sue abortion providers and anyone who helped the women (or a pregnant person) obtain the abortion. It does not matter if the person who is behind the lawsuit is any relation or knows either party that is being sued. This is on top of another heartbeat bill, which bans the procedure after six weeks. To add insult to injury, not even cases of rape or incest are given leeway.

This is a diversionary tactic. There is way too much shit going on in this country (Covid-19 being a good chunk of it) to focus on whether or not the decision to abort a pregnancy is made. This is a deeply personal and complicated decision between the woman who is pregnant, their spouse/partner (if there is one), and their doctor(s). I am all for freedom of religion, but that does not give one group the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.

What is scary is that this bill has the potential truly damage, if not take down completely Roe V. Wade.

We need to focus of taking this nation forward and dealing with our issues. Telling a woman what to do with her body should not be on priority list to begin with.

P.S. We made a big deal about getting out as many women and young girls from Afghanistan over the past few weeks. But when it comes to the women in this country, some people still think that we live in the dark ages.

Cry Those Crocodile Tears, Governor Cuomo

Rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault is nothing new. It has been, unfortunately, part of the human experience. Thankfully, we are starting to grapple with this hideous event and persecute those who undertake such vile acts.

This morning, it was announced the sexual harassment allegations against New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo are more than rumor. He harassed 11 women, nine of who were employed by the state. Though he predictably denies it, the facts are too hard to ignore.

Some might say that this is payback, after the way he played political Ping-Pong with you know who over Covid-19.. But the truth is what he did is not limited to only elected public officials. It happens in all strata’s of our culture. The only way to route it out for good is to publicly and legally shame those have used their power for less than professional or honorable means.

If I could ask him one question, it would be the following: if one of his daughters came home from work and told their father of similar experiences, how would he respond? Would he downplay it? Or would he take his proverbial shotgun (as I would hope any good parent would do), and teach this person a lesson they will never forget?

Governor Cuomo has two options. He can either step down or be impeached. Either way, he has to go. And no matter how many crocodile tears he cries, his legacy will never be the same.

Bill Cosby’s Release is Both Wrong and Disgusting

Once upon a time (the 1980’s and early 1990’s to be specific), Bill Cosby and his family sitcom, The Cosby Show was everywhere. He was America’s TV dad, breaking boundaries and telling stories that we all could relate to, regardless of skin color.

Cut to nearly 40 years later; Cosby was a felon, found guilty of sexual assault. But as of yesterday, he was released from prison due to the accusation that his due process rights were violated.

Adding fuel to the fire, his TV wife, Phylicia Rashad initially supported him by the following tweet on Wednesday:

“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”

By Thursday, it had been retracted and replaced with another tweet.

Starts at 6:09

This is why the #Metoo movement exists. To make sure men like Cosby are given their day in court and then locked in jail for the rest of their natural lives. While I understand that Rashad and Cosby have been friends and colleagues for years, she should not be excusing his behavior. She should be calling him out on what he did and standing by the victims.

As a response to her initial tweet, Howard University, where Rashad is a Dean of the College of Fine arts, has received complaints from students, parents, and potential students. Honestly, I don’t blame them. By condoning him, she sends the message that these kinds of act are not just acceptable, but those found guilty will get just a slap on the wrist.

When it comes to rape and sexual assault, we have finally reached the place in which the victims are believed and the perpetrators get what is coming to them. Bill Cosby’s release is not just wrong and disgusting, it is a cold reminder why we still need #Metoo.

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