Blog Posts

Book du jour: Exit, Pursued by a Bear

By E.K. Johnston

“I swear to God, Leo, if you throw one more sock, I am going to throw you in the lake myself!” I shout, knees sticking to the vinyl as I turn to face the back of the bus.

Wow, this book. It’s a riff on Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale. It’s about cheerleading and community and a young woman navigating the aftermath of rape. (I wish every real survivor had Hermione’s support system, but this portrait shows ways to be that friend, or that caring adult.) The book is funny and honest and fierce, sometimes all in the same sentence. It has gotten tremendous reviews and comparisons to teen classics like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak.

The author’s note starts, “I was very angry when I sat down to write this book,” which I appreciated reading. Anger is useful, when it inspires us to reject injustice. For writers, revising is the process that refines that ore into fiction gold. The heat of the author’s anger fuels the action, but it’s not an “angry” book—it’s dramatic, funny, powerful and touching. I read it in one sitting.