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Submitted Literature

Kiss It Away

By Carol Anne Davis

Review

Novel focusing on the effects of steroid addiction, long-term impacts of abuse in childhood and effect of male-on-male rape. Davis has created a brave narrative examining some of the last taboos in society and fiction. However, her execution is crass and clumsy at times. Nevertheless, the issues that she raises are poignantly and realistically examined, so perhaps the crassness could be redefined as gritty realism.

Nick has a serious and escalating steroid addiction, which leads to extreme rage, violence, over-confidence, culminating in several rapes and murders. It is hinted that Nick has himself been sexually abused in childhood, though this is not presented as an excuse for his behaviour – indeed, the reasons / blame for his behaviour is ambiguously presented as being between childhood abuse, rape in prison and the effect of the steroids. His addiction is presented realistically – from one type of steroid to ‘stacking’ with two, then eventually injecting.

Simultaneously told is the story of Ben, raped by Nick one night in a park, who struggled immensely with not only the personal trauma of what occurs but the complete lack of support available to male victims, increasing his isolation and damaged sense of masculinity following the assault. Similarly, the psychology of Nick as power-control rapist is examined frankly.

Key Themes:

  • Addiction
  • Rape
  • Societal Pressure

Significant Quotes / Pages

64-65 - "He wanted statistics and medical expertise. He needed to know that other young med had survived this. He needed to know when this hellish fear and disgust would abate.

[...] He'd thought that someone online would understand but instead they just wanted to hurt him further. Surely there had to be at least one other man out there who felt as violated as himself?"

 

182 – “There weren’t enough hours in the day to take the number of steroids he was stacking now. He was well into his latest Pronobal course, which meant taking eight of them daily. Plus he had to take four Sustanon. They were best swallowed with a meal or a snack but he was finding it harder and harder to face food.”

Reference: Carol Anne, Davis. 2003. Kiss It Away. The Do-Not Press, 2003

Reviewer

- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Monday 12th October 2009