Denial and a blame-the-victim mentality in this country is as endemic as racism or hunger--and violence against women, especially, is something the media does not want to report. Cable news would rather bloviate about Trump and his bigotry or obsess over a missing airplane.
Karin Slaughter's first book, Blindsighted, became an international success published in 30 languages, and made the Crime Writer's Association's Dagger Award shortlist for "Best Thriller Debut" of 2001.
There are many more examples of Americans who failed to swap their roses, and stuck to guns doomed to backfire. All were considered brave by those who agreed with them, and backwards-facing by those who did not.
I really perked up when the conversation turned to the notion of likability. Who says we have to like a character? Yet Franzen claims that "the safest thing" in writing fiction is not caring what the reader wants, in the sense of realizing, "Not everyone will like this guy."
Perhaps the novel has maintained its hold on our imaginations because it's fundamentally about empathy or the loss thereof--a phenomenon that allows for what Clausewitz termed "the continuation of politics by other means," a state we know only too well, as war.
At the heart of the NGRI defense is the claim the defendant either lacked the capacity to know right from wrong (was brain-damaged, intellectually impaired) or had a mental disorder when the crime was committed, causing an inability to act within the law's requirements.
Today the Supreme Court hears the cases of two young men who were sentenced to die in prison as 14-year-old children. The Court should find that young people sentenced to life without parole as children cannot be deemed beyond hope of rehabilitation. Kids can, and do, change.