Review: The Damage

The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Usually, when picking out my Book of the Month Club picks, I’m painstakingly thorough – I read Goodreads and Amazon reviews and read the synopsis of the BOTM page, then reread it again. When I read the blurb for The Damage, the premise piqued my interest and I knew that it would grab me, especially being a thriller.

I didn’t outright love The Damage, but but did certainly enjoy it. While the subject matter did put my stomach in knots, it also kept the story moving at a pace fast enough to hold my attention and keep me invested.

The Damage centers on Nick Hall, a college student who goes to a bar one night and leaves with a stranger. He wakes up bleeding in a hotel room from a violent rape. The majority of the story is told through the eyes of his sister-in-law, Julia. As the story progresses, all sides are questioned until we arrive at the satisfying twist.

I won’t say too much more about the plot to prevent any spoilers. The Damage was a thriller, which means there were elements of it more focused toward pushing the plot along than significant character evolution and development. But it was a challenging book due to the nature of the event on which the whole book hinges, and it did gently and realistically explore the radiating effects of sexual violence in a tender way that I honestly did not expect but was pleased to discover. Male survivors of rape are often overshadowed, and Nick’s story showed us some of the reality of the conundrum they find themselves in. The Damage also gets bonus points for telling an LGBT+ character’s story.

If you like books that move fast but still tell an important story, I recommend The Damage. Be cognizant of the content warnings associated with this book, however.

Dates read: February 23 through 24, 2022

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