Are You in the House Alone?

by Richard Peck

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 194

Are You in the House Alone?? offers a realistic and unsensationalistic account of the horror and loneliness typically endured by rape victims. Gail Osburne narrates her own experience of being targeted for rape, suffering the humiliating violation, and facing the unsympathetic reaction of a misjudging public. The book demonstrates the faulty perceptions Americans have of rape victims and addresses the sexual, medical, legal, and social aspects of the crime. Gail realizes that others suspect her of bringing the attack upon herself and finds that old friends no longer know how to relate to her. She also makes the mistake of withdrawing from her friends and peers into a tortured state of solitude.

Although the novel depicts the usual procedures of the police, medical professionals, and lawyers who handle reported rape cases, Peck's work is more than a fictional docu-drama. The story engages the reader emotionally, describing interesting characters and portraying a slice of life in which the rape is the central but by no means the only problem. Peck's novel is true to life in that it shows a community of believable people, all living with their own problems that lack neat, comprehensive solutions.

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