Thursday, February 2, 2017

Exit, Pursued by a Bear / E.K. Johnston / 248 pgs.

Hermione Winters has been waiting for her senior year. She and her best friend Polly are co-captains of the cheerleading squad at a school where cheerleaders are the most successful athletes. Life is aligned pretty much perfectly, until everything changes on the last day of summer cheer camp when Hermione is handed a drink at the closing party that is laced with date-rape drugs.

When she wakes up in the hospital, she doesn't remember the last evening at all, or have any idea who raped her and left her floating in the lake, thus washing all the physical evidence away.
As she returns home, she doesn't feel different, but everything and everyone around her is.

What follows is a sweet, sad story about exploring who you are when someone else has made you into somebody you aren't. It eschews some of the more traumatic aspects of rape, and most of the people Hermione interacts with demonstrate loyalty, strong friendship, and encouragement, making it as much a novel about positive relationships as it is about rape. The psychological trauma and fallout from being raped is dealt with some, but not extensively.

For a realistic counterpart, try real-life memoirs Lucky by Alice Sebold or Little Girl Lost: One Woman's Journey Beyond Rape by Leisha Joseph.

 I was really into the first half of the book, but the second half of the novel didn't impress me as much. What intrigued me at first was the Shakespeare tie-in, and there are slight--very slight--references and plot elements of A Winter's Tale.

 Very good as an audiobook.

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