After watching his two teenage cousins be brutally raped and then thrown 50 feet off a bridge into the Mississippi River, 19-year-old Tom Cummins was given a choice by the attackers: Jump or be shot. He jumped, and survived. When he finally reached the police, he was forced into confessing to the murders, his pleas to find the real killers initially ignored. The author, Tom’s younger sister, narrates in third person, giving the memories an odd, falsely detached tone. Describing how she vomited in reaction to the news, she writes: ”Gang rape was an awfully difficult fact for a…sixteen-year-old girl to face.” Rip is a howl of rage against the assailants (eventually convicted), the media, and the authorities; its attempts at impartiality – including chapters from the killers’ viewpoints – seem forced, weakening a compelling story.
Posted June 11 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT
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