Better than being poked in the eye with a stick, but only marginally. Endless, boring exposition, a number of deus ex machinas - never a good sign - a...moreBetter than being poked in the eye with a stick, but only marginally. Endless, boring exposition, a number of deus ex machinas - never a good sign - and hard-to-swallow characters - is there anything the protagonist can't do - all to push the message that capitalists suck...unless, possibly, they are female or progressive, feminized men. Really...it takes 600 pages to get to that?
Of course, millions of people like the book...and I'm writing a micro-review on some website...so what do I know? Then again millions of people like Harry Potter and Dancing With The Stars...so what do they know?
PS - The movie is much better. Pointless characters dropped, story streamlined, the relationship between the protagonists is better developed...in short, the decent plot points were lifted out and turned into an entertaining movie...at least as entertaining as a movie that features rape, murder and lingonberries can be...just kidding about the lingonberries.(less)
My first Chris Buckley novel...but not my last. Funny, biting, and for someone who lives within the Beltway and works on the Hill, really familiar. If...moreMy first Chris Buckley novel...but not my last. Funny, biting, and for someone who lives within the Beltway and works on the Hill, really familiar. If you like your political satires dark and witty, then you'll like this. (less)
Not bad. The story follows a young woman in Boston in 1917-1918 as she a) makes a life for herself after fleeing a repressive home, b) has unsafe sex...moreNot bad. The story follows a young woman in Boston in 1917-1918 as she a) makes a life for herself after fleeing a repressive home, b) has unsafe sex with a serviceman and contracts STDs and c) is picked up by the authorities when she tries to see her "beau" and is incarcerated in a quarantine center.
The good: it looks at a phenomenon that few people are aware of. As a history buff, I knew about crackdowns on brothels and prostitution near military bases during the Great War. However, I was unaware of the practice of just picking up random women. Further, the author creates some interesting characters (although he also has a problem with having to make every character flawed). Finally, the writing is engaging and the story doesn't really drag at any point.
The bad: Unfortunately, the main character is almost unbelievably stupid and self-centered, while still be introspective enough to realize that what she is doing is self-destructive. Further, the author tries too hard to make the sympathetic characters flawed. For example, an apparently dedicated female social worker is also hinted at as being a predatory lesbian. Why? Well, because everyone has to have a flaw, right? Finally, while I think one is supposed to come away from the book thinking that government policies of the time were terrible and discriminatory towards women, he fails. When one considers that the protagonist would have most likely died of her illness (or at least been crippled, syphilis is not much fun) if she had not been put in quarantined and that the majority of the inmates seem to be even worse (that is, they are prostitutes or just don't care about the diseases they spread) one can come away from the book wishing for a little more mandatory quarantining.
In the end, even with the above caveats in mind, the book is worth a read and a good discussion.(less)
Father and son go for walk through post-apocalyptic America. Father and son avoid cannibals, retain basic humanity, almost starve a couple of times. F...moreFather and son go for walk through post-apocalyptic America. Father and son avoid cannibals, retain basic humanity, almost starve a couple of times. Father dies, son is found by Grizzly Adams and Missus Adams. Happiest ending possible in a world where everyone will be dead in a few years as the atmosphere becomes unbreathable (there are no plants left, after all).
This is one of the more over hyped books I've read in a while. Although there are some nicely written passages, overall, I found this to be a tedious read, with uninteresting characters, a needlessly annoying writing style (it is odd, eccentric, semi-grammatical, which would be fine if this were first person or in the form of a journal; as it is is, it makes the "god narrator" seem like he needs some ESL courses) and a recycling of standard tropes of post-apoc literature.
I guess, if this is your first exposure to the genre, cannibal clans, whacked out survivors, burned out cities, fortuitous bunkers full of food, etc might seem fresh and exciting. They are not.
Well, it is a quick read (assuming you can plow through 50,000 different descriptions of our heros sitting around in the rain) and it is not like you'll catch Ebola from the book. So, if you have an hour or two to kill, there are worse ways. Just don't expect very much...(less)