How to Be Safe

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 media mania. Gun sales skyrocket, victims are transformed into martyrs, and the rules of public mourning are ruthlessly enforced. Anna decides to wholeheartedly reject the culpability she’s somehow been assigned, and the rampant sexism that comes with it, both in person and online.

A piercing feminist howl written in trenchant prose, How to Be Safe is a compulsively readable, darkly funny exposé of the hypocrisy that ensues when illusions of peace are shattered.

Title:How to Be Safe
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781631494130
Format Type:

About Tom McAllister

Tom McAllister is the author of the novels "How to Be Safe" and "The Young Widower's Handbook," as well as the memoir "Bury Me in My Jersey." He is the non-fiction editor of Barrelhouse magazine and the co-host of the weekly Book Fight! podcast. His shorter work has appeared in a number of places, including Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Collagist, Hobart, The Rumpus, and The Millions. He


    How to Be Safe Reviews

  • Diane S ?

    Another timely read taken right out of our news headlines, a school shooting and a teacher, Anna, who though she had nothing to do with the shooting, is said to have a motive. After that many don't ca...

  • 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...

  • Lee

    Some books emerge from the author's experience, some 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...

  • Kelli

    I’ve been in a book slump...so much so that I read only one (stellar) book last month and decided to take a reading break. Let me just say this: I’m on vacation. This book may well be brilliant, a...

  • Jessica Sullivan

    This sharp, dry satire about the aftermath of a school shooting says so much about contemporary America—from our disturbing gun culture to toxic masculinity to the increasing reality of never feelin...

  • Patrick Brown

    Fiction is not generally known for its immediate timeliness. Novels take a while to write, so you end up with a round of novels about Vietnam in 2010, etc. But this book feels like it was written in a...

  • Erin Glover

    McAllister pulls us right into his dark story as we follow a school shooter in the moments before he kills. He has time to eat pizza before it is fourth period, lunch time, at the safe high school in ...

  • Heather

    The writing is really strong and interesting in this short novel, but the mixture of tones and genres was too distracting to ignore. One scene will be serious, realistic, and poignant, and then it wil...

  • 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 c...