Book Review: Exit by Shane Filer

I took a break from paranormal thrillers and romance novels this week for a different type of psychological drama--a look into the world of a young girl moving through life in the shadow of agoraphobia.   What was my review of Exit by Shane Filer?

Quick Summary of Exit by Shane Filer.
 "Did you know I spent the whole of my fifteenth year in my room?"
Briar’s impromptu, mid-afternoon confession stirs up distant memories of the lonely time she spent trapped in her home; suffering agoraphobia — fear of open spaces. 
Now it’s six years later.  
She’s free, but the year's isolation has left serious personality disorders; disorders which will resurface as she relates her own story, and that of those in her orbit; Melodie, a pretty valley girl who Briar desires to be, Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret, and Dermot, a man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. 
Slowly Dermot begins to draw Briar into his ever-so-exciting world, but who is leading whom on their slow descent into crime? Duel periods of Briar’s life intertwine like a rope around her neck as her lost year begins to overtake the present. It leads her to the answer to one very simple question: 
 “Is it what I always feared — am I losing my mind?”

What did I think of Exit by Shane Filer?  The author created very vivid scenes for his main character, Briar, in such a way that reality and fantasy blurred--drawing readers very well into her fear and doubt filled world.  Is Briar sharing memories--or fantasies created in her mind? 

Exit effectively puts together a host of damaged characters.  As Briar faces her phobia--and tries to move forward, she discovers that most of her family and friend have secret "defects" of their own.  While readers may find the characters likeable--or despicable--and will even root for positive outcomes from all of the interactions--the individual damages are difficult to overcome.

Would I recommend Exit by Shane Filer?  The book is very well written--and very dark.  There are violent scenes, uncomfortable subjects--and not much room for happy endings.  I was drawn to read through the pages, surprised by several of the scenes--and certainly caught up in the characters' ups and downs.  It wasn't the book that I expected--but, I wasn't able to put it down until I reached the end. I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author in the future.

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Exit Trailer: 

Author Interview Video:

About the Author:

Shane grew up in provincial New Zealand, a small place where options are small, were people wear PJs to the mall, a small place where dreams of being a writer or artist are not only actively discouraged, they are actively quashed. Nevertheless he fell in love with books, comics and writing at a young age and his early influences include Oscar Wilde, Alan Moore and Dr Seuss.
After many years of trying to get books, documentaries and films accepted in his own country, Shane gave up and settled for working in the fairly creative world of video-making and advertising.

A trip to Europe and the USA rekindled his love of writing, and he wrote the American-based novel ‘Exit,’ submitted it this time to American publishers and immediately, received several offers for the work. He chose one and ‘Exit’ will be released December 2nd 2013 in the USA as his first novel from Biblio Publishing.

It is the story of Briar Averill who spent a year trapped in her room, suffering from agophobia. Six years on, she’s free, yet ripples from the year's isolation still lap at the edges of her life, and that of her friends: Melodie, a pretty valley girl who she wishes she could be… Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret and Dermot who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Ripples echo down through the years, leading her to the answer to one very simple question: Is it what she always feared — is she losing her mind?
Shane has since had comic book scripts accepted in the UK by DC Thompson, publisher of the long-running ‘Commando’ comic, fulfilling yet another dream for his child-self.

He lives with a very old and very vocal Tonkinese cat, and they both dream of eloping together to the USA or Europe.

He likes oranges, orange juice, and orange furniture — in fact even the color orange. Why? Well, because it's the best color, of course. While he believes that being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be, he still enjoys ruining his appetite before dinner, and staying up past his bed time.
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