**spoiler alert** In the not-too-distant future, the sharp divides between rich and poor grow even more rigid, while earthquakes and environmental dis...more**spoiler alert** In the not-too-distant future, the sharp divides between rich and poor grow even more rigid, while earthquakes and environmental disasters devastate populations. In an effort to save themselves from the lost city of LA, a couple heads out into the woods and claims an abandoned shack for their home. Things grow more complicated when a pregnancy is discovered, and their semi-comfortable isolation is replaced with a longing for other people that might help their child survive.
The first 100 pages of this book are fast paced and fascinating, presenting a future America that could actually happen. A lot of detail is offered to allow you to see what they're looking at, and how conclusions are drawn. It's a bit of a mystery why going feral meant summoning your inner Little House on the Prairie and hunkering down for some woman's work (like endless laundry) but who said sexism is dead? Things really fall apart when the hunt for civilization begins.
I don't understand why they were never curious enough to follow August. It's unclear why Cal feels so afraid of "the Spikes"; there's nothing presented in the description of Mr. Miller's investigation that left me a sense of anxiety or reasonable fear. There's no rhyme or reason to the Millers committing suicide. I'm never certain about what Frida looks like, which nagged at me at various places. They seem too mentally sound for people completely alone except for each other, and there's nothing playful about their personalities to indicate how they might amuse themselves. In other words: the central characters are deeply boring. By the time they actually entered the spikes, I felt like I was reading a Lost episode taking place in the Walking Dead's environment. I scanned pages and then began rapidly flipping, hunting for something interesting, shocking, or terrible that might happen and pull me onward towards the end. Finally, I decided to stop reading. The first part was great, but I didn't care what happened to any of the characters, and it's impossible to get through a book with indifference. (less)
The Zodiac murders of the 1960s and 70s were infamous for being unsolved and for the special attention-seeking nature of the perpetrator. This book is...moreThe Zodiac murders of the 1960s and 70s were infamous for being unsolved and for the special attention-seeking nature of the perpetrator. This book is written by Gary Stewart, who believes himself to be the son of the true Zodiac. In the beginning we're provided crucial background about Gary Stewart's childhood, which is the first big reveal that both his biological parents were shady individuals, and that his father was potentially a psychopath. It informed being raised by adoptive parents, and not meeting his biological mother until later in life when she sought him out. As Stewart began to learn more about his family, he unpeeled layer after layer of evidence that his father might be responsible for these crimes. Some evidence is anecdotal; the more disappointing parts delve into wild speculation about his father's whereabouts and motivations, fictionalized to the point of being distracting. However, there are very strong pieces of evidence (I won't reveal to avoid spoiling it for others) that show this isn't an empty pursuit spun out of the imagination of someone who needs to demonize a father who neglected to raise him.
Or is it?
I appreciate the use of the coauthor as it strengthened the literary merit of the work, and the amount of detail, including photos, documents, handwriting analysis, etc., chronicling the journey lends higher credibility. However, there's still that lingering question: why is he doing this? This question is also posed to him in the book by his mother, who has other children who would be harmed through their biological father being "outed" as the perpetrator of these crimes. He doesn't really answer her as to why he persists all the same, and as a result doesn't really answer the reader. There's also no statement from the San Francisco Police Department as to why they've been so uncooperative in regards to resolving this case. At the very least, there should have been notation that the department refused to comment. (less)
I decided to conclude a day of small victories by wandering down to Powell’s to peruse books while slurping on coffee in the adjacent caffeine hut. I...moreI decided to conclude a day of small victories by wandering down to Powell’s to peruse books while slurping on coffee in the adjacent caffeine hut. I snagged “We Were Liars” off their Recommended Reading table and got comfortable. Three hours later I looked up. The book was finished, the coffee shop was empty, and I should have known better than to pick up a book with an endorsement from John “Grief Porn” Green on the cover. The last few chapters are roundhouse kicks to the throat. There should be a list of counselors provided for support. It’s beautifully written, drawing you in to the pulse of every character, and chronicles undoing with accuracy and grace. The suspense is great, the plotting marvelous, and I’m not giving any of it away. Suffice it to say I was left no choice but to stop at the nearest grocery store and use quarters to purchase comfort food I never eat unless the desire surfaces to poison myself. This is the only chance of restoring order to my insides so I can dream of dragons and mermaids tonight instead of seawater that cleanses nothing. This book is horrible. This book is wonderful. I’m never going to Powell’s again. (I’m lying.)(less)