Review : Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
About the Book :
But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:
Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.
Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.
My Thoughts :
I was so very pleasantly surprised by this book.
It started well, with a beautiful cover and a title referring to a popular trope, which I thought was clever but also extremely intriguing. And it ended up fitting the book so very well, I loved it even more.
Rape isn’t an easy topic to get into, and I’ve seen tons of different reactions for this book and other similar ones (rape seems to be the theme for 2016 YA contemporaries). And hate or love, all of these reactions are good, and I appreciate that it allows us all to discuss everything around the subject. I felt that Exit, Pursued by a Bear did this well.
What makes Hermione’s story “interesting”, for a lack of a better word, is that after being drugged, she doesn’t remember what she went through. She’s a victim, and deeply aware of it, but at the same time she doesn’t really feel like one. She’s both distressed and confused, unsure about what she should think or feel or do. It’s a scary situation, and while I’ve heard and read countless of similarly horrific stories, I’d never read it exactly quite like that. It gave me a lot to think about, which is what I would expect from such a book.
Another thing I appreciated was that Hermione had an incredible support system. Her parents, her friends (especially Polly), the police, the school – everyone had her back, except for her ex. In reality, it probably rarely works this perfectly in life – the author acknowledges so in her afterword – but it was comforting to read what it should be like. It was written with care and love, and I was thankful the author really focused on Hermione’s personal struggles rather than on the mystery of her rapist (though it is dealt with, too.)
This book was a bit difficult to read through due to its topic, but it was nicely done and lovingly written. It felt good, and important, and I love that I got to read it. We need more books like this.