How to Be Safe

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

I grew up near Columbine and I still remember how it felt to have my school shut down that week. No one understood what was going on. I didn't feel like this book was worth reading or written by someone motivated to do anything more than make money.
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This started out with a lot of dark comedy which I liked (I even recommended it to a friend early on) but about halfway through it just became sad without the humor. Read if you've never experienced a horrible depressive episode and really want to know what that's like. :(
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A difficult subject and an unreliable narrator made How to Be Safe a difficult read for me. The impact of a school shooting on many in a small town is explored respectfully. The narrator is a teacher that had been suspended form her position prior to the incident.  She is briefly a person of interest to the police, which opens her up to many unpleasant experiences. We see the impact on families and friends, we get background on the victims, we attend funerals, it all becomes intertwined. I cant say that I enjoyed the book, but I will say that Tom McAllister kept my interest throughout. I imagine that How To Be Safe might be a good book discussion selection, as he touches on so many thought provoking situations.
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"How to Be Safe" is my favorite read of 2018 so far. The writing is compelling. It is a pithy book that's short on plot - not a whole lot actually happens - but I loved it. I highlighted many passages that are so spot on.
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Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review - you know the drill.

jfc this book is a lot

Good thing I only started reading it when the sun was out more, books about anxiety/depression/PTSD are basically relegated to serotonin season for me or I get sucked into a sad hole for months.
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It is VERY RARE for me not to finish a book.  I can't think of anything I've put aside before the end in at least 5 years.  I just COULD NOT get into this novel.  The narrator came through as a mnotone, uninterested person, whose insights into the school shooting at her former place of employment did not ring true.  There were references to the town which felt hollow and undeveloped by the time I was half way through the book and the plot/narrative hadn't interested me enough to keep reading.  Perhaps it's just me, but this was a dud.
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A book couldn’t be more timely. A stark commentary on the state of our nation, that is also darkly funny, wise, and an uncomfortable mirror for today.
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I began reading this book with high hopes, but it devolved for me into something that didn't measure up to the horrible scenarios we are currently living through.
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Wonderful and poignant. And a wholly different approach to the school shooting book, focusing on how much of an impact this type of violence can have long afterwards.
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This book takes place in the aftermath of a school shooting and hits so close to home. Tom has his fingers on the vein of society, maybe even deeper than that. All I know is as a woman in this culture of ours he nailed my fears, my insecurities, and some of the most terrifying interactions I have experienced in regards to harassment. On top of that our devotion to guns; how we interpret violence. So much of what I read has actually happened. This book may bring controversy, but its a needed one that lays all our sins to bare.
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When a school shooting rocks a safe small Midwestern town, suspended high school teacher Anna Crawford is temporarily a suspect. What follows on the pages of this novel is Anna both unraveling and contemplating the concept of safety in our modern age. Unfortunately timely given the events of the last week, this book also deals head on--but artfully--with issues of fun control, mental health, sexism, and the phenomenon of angry boys committing unspeakable violence. With a deeply flawed protagonist whose actions at times make it difficult to really have her back,McAllister's second novel proves that he's a skilled writer, and this novel has immense depth and grapples with an all too common occurrence with compassion. Read it. Unless you don't like creative, well-written novels. Then maybe don't.
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DNT-- Writing seemed scattered and was difficult to follow. Made it about 20% of the way through the book and was distracted and lost.
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The veil of sadness that covered The Young Widower's Handbook did not work quite as well for a public tragedy. The author seemed to be spinning his wheels when encountering the unexplainable.
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I really don't know how to feel about this book, I was so excited to start it, but can't help bubut feel left down. This one eventually became a chore and sadly that is the worst thing that can happen to any read.
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