In the criminal justice system, sexually based offences are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.
For those of you living under a rock (ok, maybe a bit harsh), the above is the narrated preamble to each episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. SVU is a procedural crime show currently in its seventeenth season which means I have been watching it a loooong time. It’s pretty gritty and explicit at times but can also be incredibly thought provoking and entertaining. It also helped me earn a high distinction in my undergrad (The Sociology of Media: how gender and computer games are reported in the media). And, you know, my couch law degree.
I have a funny relationship with crime drama. I won’t miss an episode of SVU and yet, I cannot sit through more than ten minutes of CSI (obviously there is a high diversity of names in the crime drama genre allowing only acronyms to grace our silver screens). I could call my viewership discerning, but really I am just fickle and difficult to entertain. So when The Whites came highly recommended to me, I was intrigued. I can enjoy the genre and needed something a little lighter after the brilliant intensity of A Little Life.
I have to admit that it took me a while to get into the tone and pace of this novel, despite the excellent writing and intriguing plot. Perhaps there was a little too much macho posturing; a genre where the men are either law makers or law breakers and the women are supporting acts to villain or victim. Arguably, this gender dichotomy is simply reflexive of the sphere in which is represents. I don’t know. The closest I get to the edge of the criminal world is my Saturday morning spin class where one of my fellow spinners is a female detective (and can I just say how totally and utterly cool I think it is to know an actual real-life detective).
I didn’t not enjoy this tale and I know so many who really loved or will love it. But for now, I might stick with SVU. If nothing else because I’m kinda obsessed with the incomparable Detective/ Sergeant/ Lieutenant Olivia Benson.