Still suffering heartache over his lost love, Jill—the on-again, off-again girlfriend who most recently left for another ex-boyfriend—Kal's world becomes even gloomier when the whole college assumes he is the attempted rapist pictured in a wanted poster displayed throughout campus. After establishing an unlikely alliance with Katie, a vivacious campus newspaper reporter, the pair set out to prove Kal's innocence, find the true culprit, and possibly develop their own relationship in the process.
The major theme the novel approaches is the wandering mentality quickly becoming synonymous with college students and recent graduates. Kal represents an extreme of that theme, constantly worrying if he's making the right choices about school, his major, his social life, his drinking problems and so on to the point of neuroticism. In his moments of deep pondering and worry, Kal often floats deep into a trance he coins "The Stare," similar to the "1,000-mile Stare" war veterans are known to have. During The Stare, Kal is oblivious to his surroundings, somehow focusing only on an internal voice in his head, imaginarily personified by a 16-year-old version of himself who is thoroughly disappointed with how the present version of himself has turned out.
The book juggles a variety of subplots into one, as opposed to following a singular, linear story line. As the story unfolds, it takes turns between focusing on Kal and Katie's quest to find the real assailant and Kal's attempts to pull himself out of his self-made puddle of misery.
Read more about this topic: Assault On The Senses
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