A few months ago, I read Catch and Kill. It’s a book that you need to read, too.
The story took me through a wide range of emotions—disbelief, anger, fear, shame, to name a few. It has pervaded nearly every thought and conversation I’ve had since. (Just ask my husband, he loves when I force him to talk about things he hasn’t read or watched).
“Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators” by Ronan Farrow is not the kind of book you can relax in front of a fireplace this winter.
And it’s not the book you take to your office white elephant gift exchange. Instead, this book will/should induce blood-boiling rage. At many points, my face warped into expressions of fury, and my heart legitimately began racing. At other parts, I cried.
I listened via Audible versus read the hard copy book because I’m a busy mom after all. I honestly can’t recommend this page-turner enough. A gripping, must-read.
Granted, I studied Journalism in college, so the fact that the book kind of peels back the curtain and shows you a little of how the sausage is made, hooked me from the beginning. I finished it within days of its release.
In short, “Catch and Kill” lays out the personal work experience of Ronan Farrow ( the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen). It’s also about how NBC tried to squash the reporting of Harvey Weinstein’s patterns of alleged sexual abuse and cover-ups. Remember, this story virtually propelled the Me Too movement into our collective zeitgeist. (Then came Larry Nassar, new info on Jeffrey Epstein and others).
This book recalls recorded (and horrifyingly graphic) conversations with many of the accusers, and many of them are famous names you’ll recognize. Farrow does a beautiful job of keeping the women and their stories at the heart of it all. It isn’t about him per se, but you also get to hear from him about how a spy agency was hired to follow him and keep tabs/intimidate him – and other unbelievable facts.
It’s wild, almost impossible to believe if it weren’t true.
The pages are full of many, intersecting layers of personal and institutional abuses of power. It feels strange to enjoy a book about the subject matter of layers upon layers of sexual abuse cover-ups. Still, the real value of it for me was that I rediscovered my zest for truth and justice and was reminded to remain vigilant in the face of all we face daily. As women, yes, but also just as people.
This account took bravery on the part of the accusers, the author, the publishers, and many more. It’s an essential read, and I’m thoroughly grateful for its existence. The way the novel is masterfully and conversationally written gives the story and its issues legs in an era where we’re quick to move on in the news cycle.
Why Reading Catch and Kill Matters
While the subject matter is a bit of “old news” from faded allegations about Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and other powerful men from much earlier this year, that’s kind of the point. Since we don’t have all the facts even now is mind-blowing to hear about. And the enablers? Don’t get me started! So many people have been intentionally involved in so many cover-ups throughout the years. How many are actively happening right now? Money should not equal power, and I found myself disturbed to learn how often and how far people will go to protect themselves.
Almost the same day I finished the book, something else happened. I just so happened to walk down my stairs into this scene. I ran back upstairs to grab my phone and take this picture of my daughter. So pretty and peaceful. The entire world is her oyster. I couldn’t help but have my thoughts drift to the book and the fact that she deserves so much better than the world we’re in now that treats women the way it does. But I smiled because even at such a young age, I can tell, she won’t put up with any of it.
I wrote her a short letter in case she ever doubts that.
May you never be satisfied. I wish and pray for you to stay forever curious. Ask all the questions. Always seek the truth. Stay true to yourself, and even when it’s so hard, and it will be, try to have the self-confidence, self-assurance, and courage that I know you can, to stand up for what’s right. If you find yourself in a position to help someone, you should. There is nothing wrong with who you are. You are so loved.
Long story long
“Catch and Kill” is a well-written read about significant and challenging issues in our society—sexual abuse, harassment, free press, personal expression, etc. I urge you to read it as soon as you can. Or at least do an internet search to see what all the fuss is about. I need more people to discuss it with!
A few other things I’m asking:
- Talk to your kids –of both genders—about treating each other with respect
- Love on your family so much
- Don’t disengage from media and the hard or political conversations this year. Educate yourself about the issues that matter to you, because of you and your voice matter. We all do.