The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad by Derrick Jensen, Stephanie McMillan
Published by PM Press on October 22, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Humor
Buy at Amazon •
In this darkly comic novel, the six women of the Knitting Circle meet every week to talk, eat cake, and make fabulous sweaters. The easy-going circle undergoes a drastic change when the members realize they are all the survivors of rape—worse still, that none of their attackers suffered consequences—and the group becomes the vengeful Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad, taking punishment into their own hands via their knitting needles. As the women take their revenge, groups of men issue statements against the vigilante ladies, from the Chamber of Commerce to the sinister Men Against Women Against Rape (MAWAR), plotting to stop and punish the Knitting Circle. Featuring strong female characters, this satirical piece explores love, revenge, feminism, violence, and knitting.
The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad is a book I picked to read during my Scribd trial but I couldn’t get into it. DNF at 60%.
The plot idea and the blurb all sounded extremely interesting so I decided to read it when I started my Scribd trial. I was expecting a dark comedy – something like the movie Heathers. Sadly, The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad was more of a forced “chuckle, chuckle” than a dark comedy to me.
The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad starts with a woman on her way to a “special” dance class offered by her dance teacher (ballroom dancing). When the character arrived at the class she finds herself alone with the instructor – apparently the “special” class was an invitation to be raped. Instead of letting the instructor rape her, the character kills him with her knitting needles – and we’re off!
The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad is funny, don’t get me wrong, but the funny wore really thin really quickly. Rape is a big deal and it happens all the time. Some of the points being made by the book – the men all being horribly clueless about rape and the (male) police not focusing on the rapes (crimes against women) but trying to put as much manpower into solving the murders (crimes against men) – all rang true. Sadly true.
“This is Franz Maihem with ultraurgent breaking news. We are linking you live to our FBI contact Chet Stirling for an emergency announcement. Chet, go ahead.”
Chet stands at his desk for several awkward seconds, staring blankly at the camera as the audio delay ticks by. Then his voice crackles as he says, “We have received a communiqué from the so-called Ice Queen Killers, whom our agency has classified as the greatest terrorist threat facing America today. They are more dangerous than al-Qaeda, the Taliban, North Korea, or Iran. They are even more dangerous and ruthless than domestic environmentalists. They are our top priority and we pledge to eradicate them.”
Franz asks, “What does the communiqué say, Chet?”
“It says, ‘We will stop killing rapists when men stop raping.’”
Franz asks, “That’s it?”
“That’s it. The entire message.”
Franz asks, “What the heck does it mean, Chet?”
Chet responds with the uncertainty of a man standing waving his arms while he cries, “Where’s my ass?”: “Well, Franz, we’re baffled. We have no idea what this could possibly mean. It’s certainly shocking and depraved, but you know chicks, I mean women—they’re incomprehensible.”
“What do women want? That’s the age-old question, isn’t it, Chet?”
“Yes. We’ve done extensive research on this question, and experts concur that women are irrational, hysterical, and contradictory. They often say no when they mean yes. In fact, sometimes they’re saying no with their mouths at the exact moment their eyes, and often their tantalizing breasts, are saying yes. They are devious, manipulative, lying, cheating, slutty whores.”
Franz clears his throat. “The message, Chet?”
Chet regains his composure, such as it is, and says, “Cryptologists are urgently trying to decipher this message as we speak. As soon as we figure out its precise meaning, we’ll alert the public. Meanwhile, please remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.”
-The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad, page 96
The book became even more sadly true when it talked about the lack of concern that men have dealing with rape.
I discussed some of my concerns about The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad with my husband and he initially didn’t believe me when I said that crimes against women – especially rape – are under-reported and under-investigated. I told him that there are thousands of rape kits that were discovered sitting unprocessed in an improper storage facility in Detroit alone and showed him a couple of articles that made him speechless.
More than 11,000 rape kits that were left in police storage, some for 20 years, are to finally be tested after a $4 million grant from the attorney-general.
The discovery of the kits gathering dust in a Detroit warehouse in 2009 has shocked prosecutors, who have pushed for the evidence to be processed and the rapists to be brought to justice.
On Wednesday Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and attorney-general Bill Schuette announced that $4 million in settlement funds will be used to examine the kits.
*Funds used to collect evidence from more than 11,000 Detroit rape kits
*DNA matched in 136 cases already, including 32 linked to serial rapists
A five month CBS News Investigation of 24 cities and states has found that more than 20,000 rape kits were never sent to crime labs and an additional 6,000 rape kits from active investigations are waiting months, even years, to be tested.
Just…being 100% aware of how rape, rape jokes and rape culture is dealt with here in America…the slap-happy jokes and heavy handed sarcasm did not reach a level of comfortable for me. It just reinforced how horrible rape is dealt with here and how difficult it is for women to get justice for rape.
I may decide to try to read this again (based off of Stephanie McMillan’s resume) – but it will be quite some time.