Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: The Raising by Laura Kasischke

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The Raising


By Laura Kasischke














A literary masterpiece of Deception and Betrayal. Just as other reviewers quoted on the cover, I was pulled into Laura Kasischke's story of life on campus. A life I had lived in one way or another for nearly 40 years. It took me through about half-way before I started to pick up the clues the author was leaving for her readers. I could see what was coming; still I hoped it was going to be different.

The story mostly takes place in Godwin Honors Hall, where a new coed program had just begun. While most of the students were high school honors students, Craig Clements-Rabbitt's father used his influence to get him admitted, although Craig did not realize it until he was already there on campus. Craig's background is a little bit shaky, having gone through periods of depression, but in general he's an intelligent individual, troubled and making it through with a little help from drugs. He's cynical, but begins to change as he starts to become friends with his roommate Perry and a number of others, including Nicole Werner.

The Raising: A Novel (P.S.)Readers learn in the Prologue that Craig and Nicole have been in a terrible car accident. Shelly, who works on campus, was first on the scene and quickly calls to Craig not to move Nicole, since she was thrown from the car. Sporadically thereafter, Shelly tries to have her voice heard--to "correct" what has been printed about the accident, her role in coming upon the scene and her actions...Because according to every account she has read, Nicole was found in the car, burned beyond recognition, and everybody believes Craig caused her death while driving under the influence.

While the accident actually occurred late into the semester, readers learn the details of events leading up to what finally happened. Normal life of college students? I hope not. There is an underlying revelation of not just sexual escapades, but a norm of lies and deception between and among them as different sexual roles are "played" for different relationships.

The roles of sororities and fraternities become dominant as Nicole decides to join a sorority while Craig does not. Influence by sorority members seem to take control, while Craig is slowly denied access to even talk with her whenever they wanted.

Beginning a new semester, we find Craig back at the campus, still rooming with Perry. Both of them have moved into an apartment building since Craig was not permitted to come back to Godwin Hall. Perry shows just how good a friend he is by sticking with Craig, who has no memory of what happened after the accident. But Perry does remember and he's worried because there are signs of Craig being haunted by Nicole--and even of another ghost who inhabited Godwin Hall...

Perry begs to audit a freshman course on death and dying, suggesting to the instructor, who is in need of meeting the "writing or perish" issue faced by non-tenured faculty, that she explore the deaths that occurred on college campuses, and, in particular, right there on theirs! Soon there are quite a number of on-campus individuals involved--those who want to know what happened and what is now going on.

And those who will do anything to prevent that from happening...

Campus politics gave me the first clue and I was on to the end before each page was turned. It is in the very potential reality that I found myself turning more and more away from this book. I knew how it was going to end and I didn't want to feel that devastation of knowing, yes, this is reality. Peer pressure is scary stuff, lies to protect an institution or careers do indeed occur. Kasischke created a masterpiece of reality that I hated to finish, because of what story it revealed (confirmed?) of college life.

Still, it is an excellent book that may be just what you are looking for! Like a little bit of paranormal, scary campus thrills and a murder mystery with twists and turns that keep you on the edge? This is it. Kasischke's writing is wonderfully creative and insightful of college life.

Book Received Via
Kelley and Hall Book Publicity

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