The Pain Eater, by Beth Goobie | Book Review

Hello friends! Today I have my review of
The Pain Eater by Beth Goobie.

Trigger Warning: Rape, Assault, Self-Harm, Bullying, PTSD, Panic Attacks

PainEater_cover_ARC.inddShe hadn’t told anyone. Not a single soul. Not one word about that night and what had been done to her had ever passed Maddy Malone’s lips. She’d thought about it at first – had been desperate, even frantic, to tell. But then had come the shame, and the intimidation from the boys who raped her – and the one who held her down.

Now it’s the beginning of a new school year and Maddy is hoping that she can continue to hide, making herself as quiet and small as possible. She is consumed with keeping the memories at bay, forcing them down through small cuts and the burn from the end of a cigarette. But when her English class is given the assignment of writing a collaborative novel about a fifteen-year-old girl, The Pain Eater, fact and fiction begin to meet up. When the boys spread rumors about Maddy, she realizes that continuing to hide the truth will only give them more control, and she slowly gains the courage to confront them.

The first thing I would say about The Pain Eater is that if you have a Rape Trigger, I suggest to not read this book. There are multiple scenes where Maddy relives her rape, and her rape is talked about quite frequently throughout the novel. As is the PTSD that Maddy endures afterwards.

And please note that I have never been attacked like our main character, Maddy has. My review is simply what I thought of the story and how everything played out.

At the start of The Pain Eater, we read the rape scene that happened to Maddy. After that, the story skips to 5 months later. Maddy has identified 3 of her attackers. Yet the last 2 of the 5 are unidentified.

As the story progresses, we see Maddy go through grief, shame, blaming herself for the rape. The further we go into reading The Pain Eater, the more we see Maddy learn the identities of all 5 of her attackers.

We see how Maddy gets victim-blamed in the small town she lives in. So we see how rape-victims are treated in small towns. And frankly, I know it happens that way.

We also see Maddy angry at her attackers, and we see Maddy stand up for herself. Once Maddy started standing up for herself and accepting that yes, she was raped, and no, she didn’t die from it, we see Maddy finally get the friendships she truly needs.

I enjoyed reading The Pain Eater because I enjoyed seeing Maddy come to terms with her trauma.

I liked that by the end of The Pain Eater Maddy has learned to help herself, along with her newly found friends.

I believe that The Pain Eater is truly an honest representation of what small, college-town, victim blaming looks like. And the harassment that follows — especially when the known attackers are popular.

I give The Pain Eater, 5 stars.

Have you read The Pain Eater?
What’d you think of it?

Thank you for stopping by!

See you soon, and Happy Reading!

7 thoughts on “The Pain Eater, by Beth Goobie | Book Review

  1. singerofstories says:

    I’m so glad that you liked this book, and that there are books out there like this that show that there is hope for young women who have been through awful things like that. Victim-blaming is something I have such a hard time wrapping my mind around, but to come through that and find an outlet is so admirable. This book sounds difficult to read but ultimately worth it. Thank you for sharing!


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