Sexual Assault Agenda in Full Force by Harry Painter


The novel assigned to first-year students enrolling at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall is well-written, engaging, funny, and touching. The characters are deep and (mostly) believable. For the book, The Round House, author Louise Erdrich won the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction, an award for which she was previously a finalist in 2001.

The subject matter, however, makes The Round House a suspect pick for the Carolina Summer Reading Program, begun in 1999. The book explores numerous themes, including Indian culture and tradition, Catholicism, adolescent mischief and nascent manhood, Indian law and competing jurisdictions, vigilantism, racism, and sexism. However, the book centers on a theme with which UNC-Chapel Hill and American universities as a whole have an intimate relationship—the justice system’s response to rape.

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