The Red Word

The Red Word

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"Sarah Henstra's The Red Word will get you fuming, laughing, cheering, and most of all, thinking."-- Cosmopolitan

A smart, dark, and take-no-prisoners look at rape culture and the extremes to which ideology can go, The Red Word is a campus novel like no other. As her sophomore year begins, Karen enters into the back-to-school revelry--particularly at a fraternity called GBC. When she wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, she gets a crash course in the state of feminist activism on campus. GBC is notorious, she learns, nicknamed "Gang Bang Central" and a prominent contributor to a list of date rapists compiled by female students. Despite continuing to party there and dating one of the brothers, Karen is equally seduced by the intellectual stimulation and indomitable spirit of the Raghurst women, who surprise her by wanting her as a housemate and recruiting her into the upper-level class of a charismatic feminist mythology scholar they all adore. As Karen finds herself caught between two increasingly polarized camps, ringleader housemate Dyann believes she has hit on the perfect way to expose and bring down the fraternity as a symbol of rape culture--but the war between the houses will exact a terrible price.

The Red Word captures beautifully the feverish binarism of campus politics and the headlong rush of youth toward new friends, lovers, and life-altering ideas. With strains of Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot , Alison Lurie's Truth and Consequences , and Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons , Sarah Henstra's debut adult novel arrives on the wings of furies.

Publisher: New York, NY : Black Cat ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2018.
Edition: First paperback edition.
ISBN: 9780802126559
Branch Call Number: HENSTRA
Characteristics: 336 pages ; 21 cm


Featured Blogs and Events

Ep 022: From the Mixed-up Files of Lawrence P. Library

Polli and Kate explore Magic (both Big and Darker), plus books to help you talk about race and books to help you sublimate your righteous anger. This month we discuss From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler through the eyes of two mixed-up adults who missed it as kids. Bookish News: Earlier this year, BookRiot launched a feminist book club called "Persist" that takes place… (more)

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 09, 2021

Knowing the awards this book received and having then read it I was surprised. This book just wasn't good and in the worst way. The tone of the book is off. The character seems especially shallow. I felt I was reading a book that was meaning to take a serious approach to a serious subject but was then suddenly reading a book that was light and nonchalant about everything.

May 09, 2019

Did not leave a good impression about life in sororities and fraternities. Could not even get a grasp on what was really going on but it was not good. Did not stick with me at all.

Apr 09, 2019

Distressing and offensive; for (very) young adults.

Jan 12, 2019

I found this book very well-written but overly long. It is a compelling story and also an intellectual study and many of the literary references were well beyond my education level. At a certain point I stopped trying to get up to speed and just skimmed over the parts that were sort of beyond me. I would recommend this book for people who have studied literature and myth.

Nov 08, 2018

The ideas are interesting, but I couldn't remember which character was which and, to tell the truth, I didn't care about any of them


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top