Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
“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.” - taken from Goodreads.com
Exit, Pursued by a Bear is based on William Shakespeare’s play, The Winter’s Tale, and takes it’s title from Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction from the same play. The first half of the play focuses on King Leontes jealousy, that he has dreamed up on his own, when he thinks his pregnant wife, Hermione, has cheated on him and the baby she carries is not his. The baby is abandoned but raised by a shepherd. The second half of the play actually occurs sixteen years later and focuses on the love story between Hermione and Leontes’ daughter and the son of King Polixenes, the man Leontes believed was the father of Hermione’s baby. In the end, Leontes realizes the girl really is his daughter and that Hermione is still alive. He is happy. Check out SparkNotes if you want a detailed summary of the play.
This book was incredible. Even though it touches and discusses taboo topics, that is not what the heart of this story is about. It is about what true friendship is and what it means to be on a team. Even though the ending is left somewhat open ended, there is enough to imagine what course Hermione’s life will take. A definite suggestion that I will continue to pass on.