Title: Exit, Pursued By A Bear
Genre: Young Adult, General Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Date Published: March 15, 2016
“I love you,” Polly says suddenly when I’m almost to the door.
“I know,” I say.
Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.
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.
Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma.
“I love you,” I say, because I really, really do.
“I know,” says Polly.
Hermione, the main character, was overcoming a rape - but not wanting it to define her. I have been sexually assaulted as well, and for the longest time I thought it was my fault and I deserved it. It is because I did not have a support system and was ignorant about how all of this worked. I have since learned otherwise.
One thing I have to say is that this is a heavy read. While reading, I felt quite emotional. There was sadness, frustration, and anger - I had to put it down a lot. Still, I finished it in a day because it is fantastic.
Out of everyone in this book, Polly is my favorite. She's the type of best friend everyone needs. There's so many things she says that is something anyone who has suffered sexual abuse should hear. As someone who has also lived through this type of abuse, even seeing it written down like this made me feel the words were also for me. And that was something I needed.
An important thing to note is that this was a rape story that did not focus on the abuse, which made it something I could connect with easier. The reactions from her parents, best friend, boyfriend, teammates, and community after they realized what has happened is very important. Even though it was not something I enjoyed, it is necessary to see the different reactions of everyone. Normally it is so hard for me to read a book with sexual assault, but this one focused on the way her friends, family, and certain members of the community came together to stand up and defend Hermione over rumors and other awful things. It felt empowering.
This is someone that should be offered to someone who has been through a sexual assault. It was very empowering. Hell, this is something everyone should read so they can understand even a fraction of what is going on.
Read this immediately. Right now, in fact. This is one book that will stick with me for a while.