How to Be Safe by Tom McAllister

How to Be Safe

Former Teacher Had Motive. Recently suspended for a so-called outburst, high school English teacher Anna Crawford is stewing over the injustice at home when she is shocked to see herself named on television as a suspect in a shooting at the school where she works. Though she is quickly exonerated, and the actual teenage murderer identified, her life is nevertheless held up for relentless scrutiny and judgment as this quiet town descends into medi...

Details How to Be Safe

TitleHow to Be Safe
Release DateApr 3rd, 2018
GenreFiction, Mystery, Literary Fiction, Novels

Reviews How to Be Safe

  • Tom
    I'm sorta biased on this one.
  • Ron Charles
    Tom McAllister’s "How to Be Safe" is as startling as the sonic crack of a bullet. The story’s volatile tone tears through the despair of our era’s devotion to guns. In the opening pages, a young man kills 19 people and wounds 45 at a Pennsylvania high school. McAllister, the nonfiction editor of Barrelhouse magazine, constructs this preface entirely from the breathless cliches of “the playbook of mass murder” we all know so well: “The...
  • Lee
    Some books emerge from the author's experience, some books seem like they're in conversation with other books, but this one seems to have been formed by the author's experience of the internet, particularly Twitter, specifically how that particular fragmented social-media monster processes those wholly American unnatural disasters known as school shootings. Do not look to this book for solace or support if you're distraught about the intermittent...
  • Andrienne
    Beautiful observations set against a too-typical event nowadays. Anna is a brief suspect in a school shooting and from her POV she ruminates on being safe in this day and age - she also explores her choices and relationships with well-meaning folks around her. Access to review copy provided by publisher.
  • Mary Allen
    I had won this book thru Goodreads, I took a chance and decided to read it right away instead of adding to my list. I am happy I did, good story and well written a GOODREAD
  • Kara
    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...
  • FrumpBurger
    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 gun control, mental health, sexism, and the phenomenon of entitled, angry boys comm...
  • Sarah
    Wow wow wow wow wow
  • Denver Public Library
    I picked up this title at a library conference after hearing the author speak, which notably was shortly after the Parkland high school shootings. This book takes place in the aftermath of a school shooting and hit close to home. A teacher is suddenly thrust into the media spotlight when it is suspected that she was the shooter; the suspicion is short-lived, though the impact is long-lasting. McAllister has a sure hold on our society's views on g...
  • Kelly
    It was very eerie and sobering to be reading a novel about a school shooting and then to check the news and find out about another school shooting happening in real life. The book is certainly written on a timely subject, and by a skilled wordsmith. Anna Crawford is a high school teacher who has been suspended for an "outburst." During her suspension, a massive school shooting occurs. Anna is at first considered a suspect because of her previous ...
  • Ben
    Funny, wise, imaginative, and fierce. Anna Crawford is a character I'll remember for a long time: a worldly, bitter, savvy sense of humor floating on top of an ocean of empathy and pain and longing.
  • Laura
    Got an ARC. Thanks Norton!I've read a couple of novels about school shootings so I wasn't sure I wanted another but it gave a new perspective. From a woman who was originally a suspect and suffering from depression and alcoholism. She is such a flawed protagonist but is hyper-aware of the town's reaction to the tragedy and is not immune to also giving into fear. Beautifully written! Will watch Tom McAllister!
  • Vicki
    Intense! I couldn't put it down.
  • Sharon
    3.5/5 -Goodreads giveaway.Interesting, very darkly humorous tale of the aftermath of a school shooting.Many passages you will want to go back and re-read.A timely read.
  • Bethany Kennedy
    I found myself enjoying this book more than expected. I’m typically more of a fan of fantasy, so I was pleasantly surprised. This touches on some very important issues in today’s society. We, as a society, never realize how wrapped up we are in our own lives, that we miss the signs of people hurting around us. I think this book did a very good job of touching on that.
  • Myrna Gottlieb
    I won a free advance copy of How to Be Safe in exchange for an honest review.The first third of the book held my attention. We meet a disturbed, well-armed young man on the morning before he is about to break into his former school and shoot as many as he can. We then meet a young woman, a local girl, a former teacher at the school; she had recently been suspended she believed , though she'd actually been fired for inappropriate behavior. She is ...
  • Amanda Mae
    “Enjoy” isn’t the right word for this book, but I did get drawn in to it right away. A school shooting occurs, and a suspended teacher is the initial suspect. The author traces this teacher through the year following the shooting, with so many incredible passages of thoughts that I have thought in the aftermath of shootings and other atrocities. It was unnerving, but also reassuring to know I’m not alone with these thoughts.
  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    How to Be Safe by Tom McAllister is a recommended novel about a woman's response to the aftermath of a school shooting in a small town."His brain is just another brain. It’s connected to someone with a bad soul, but you can’t bottle that or study it. The slivers of his brain placed on slides under a microscope will not show the memories, won’t allow them to read the rejection and the emptiness and the abuse and the fear. The slides will not...
  • Charlotte
    This is a GoodReads giveaway win.This first chapter was sad and dark and beautifully written. Mr McAllister has a wonderful way with words. A school shooting is a tragic thing and this is the subject of this book, however I think it's more about the after effects. Anna is briefly a suspect because she said some, not so nice things, about the school online and because she was fired. The FBI tore apart her home and kept her for many hours. When she...
  • Case Tatro
    A really deep (fictional) account of a school shooting and an exaggerated impact on both an individual and the community. Using Anna, McAllister conveys the symptoms of PTSD through disjointed writing. The book does lean left in its talk about gun rights, but all readers can understand the response by both Anna and Seldom Falls to the shooting. The use of the loss of sunlight is a really good metaphor for the light of hope going out in the wake o...
  • Laura
    Anna's story was supposed to be prescient, one that we could identify with given the moment we're living in, with social media and quick accusations and then, sadly, few opportunities to remove the stigma from the victim of false identification. But... not. It's slow, it's scattered and it failed to hold this reader's interest. I didn't care about Anna or her story, much less that of her brother or friends.ARC provided by publisher.
  • Fred
    Very dark, timely, and character-driven novel focusing on the aftermath of a school shooting. Well-written, if a little politically skewed. Protagonist is a deeply flawed, troubled woman who ruminates on the goings on around her.
  • Perry
    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.
  • Meghan
    such a funny, devastating, important novel
  • Vicki
    Anna Crawford is a teacher who is briefly considered a “person of interest” after a school shooting. Although she is cleared almost immediately, people in her community continue to view her as somehow guilty. How does one deal with the aftermath of a school shooting in a small town, especially under these circumstances?It's difficult and a little surreal to read this book in the wake of another real life school shooting, and yet this book eff...
  • Portia Kapraun
    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.