Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Books I've Loved: Exit, Pursued By A Bear

This book really surprised me.  I was drawn to it initially because of the title.  I mean, who can resist a book called Exit, Pursued By A Bear?

I'm not terribly interested in cheerleading, but that Hermione is a cheerleader is almost incidental in this book.  She could be any number of things and still have been in the same situation.  The cheerleading aspect just highlights her need and ability to trust the people around her.  When you're being flung in the air, you need to trust the people below to catch you again.

And trusting is something that's hard to do after being raped.  Because yes, this is a book about rape.  But it's not like any other book about rape I've read.  Hermione's life doesn't end after she's raped.  Her worldview doesn't change.  She doesn't suddenly start acting like a slut, sleeping with every guy around, but neither does she withdraw and become terrified of being around boys.

The rape does affect her - how could it not? - but it doesn't define her.  Finding the rapist doesn't consume her.

Hermione has good people around her.  Her best friend, Polly, is the best friend we all wish we had.  Her parents are caring and involved without being smothering.  Her fellow cheerleaders have her back. The only one who seems not to be supportive is her boyfriend (who soon becomes her ex-boyfriend), but even that doesn't bother her much.

I really liked that this book showed a rape victim dealing with her assault in such a different way.  Hermione isn't a super-strong person, yet she manages to deal with everything without even falling into being a victim.  She uses her support network rather than pushing them away, and refuses to allow what happened to her to ruin her life.

I recommend this book because it shows that you can survive something horrific without allowing it to change who you are at the core.  And because it shows how vital it is for friends and family to support people when they're feeling vulnerable, to protect them, but not shield them from the world.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.


  1. It's definitely an arresting title. I find the subject a bit depressing, though. I might have to pass on this one.

  2. Without being too specific about it, I know someone who was raped, and they didn't allow it to change them, either. It's the support network that really counts, I think.