The Bird Flu has hit the United States with a vengeance, and Christine Cook, an upper-class mother of three, documents the traumatic days in her diary as she fights to keep her young children quarantined and healthy, while her husband, a pediatrician, insists on going to work to each morning.
How does a family cope while so many around them are in despair? How does the world cope with a pandemic without the insanity of the situation becoming contagious in itself?
About half way through this book, I was considering a review with the title "The Most. Depressing. Book. Ever."
The entire setting of maybe two thirds of the book is the home of the protagonist, her struggles within it, with each tragedy and disaster followed by another. Much of this part of the book is filled with her recollections of her life before the pandemic, and how things led up to what they'd become. Her past is a patchwork of tragedies too. I was half expecting the book to end with "And then they all died horribly. The end.", so depressing was the life of the protagonist. It certainly felt like nothing positive was going to come out of this.
At this point, I was struggling with how I would rate the book; after all, it WAS well written, even if the story, for most of the book, is very grim and almost claustrophobic in atmosphere.
There's a major story twist that occurs though, and after the unexpected turn, the story becomes more engaging, to the point that made me think that perhaps trudging through the constricting misery of her life in the house was worth it in the end. The reader is rewarded for sticking with it, and with hindsight, you find another way to view the events in the early part of the book, making new connections.
So in the end, it turned out to be quite a memorable story. Go into it with patience, and you'll probably be glad you read it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is a story about coping. Coping with this new illness that is killing off citizens. Coping with loss and/or almost loss. Coping with yourself. It's a unique point of view in the pandemic fiction that is out there.
The narration done by Erin deWard was nothing short of perfect for this book. Her performance really gave this book wings and allowed it to take on another emotional level. When the main character was depressed (most of the story) Erin's voice was depressed too. Just one of those performances you wish for as an author.
This may be one of the most depressing books I've ever read. It reminded me of the movie The Weatherman in that aspect. It just kept getting darker and darker. But, unlike the movie I mentioned, this did have some redeeming things happen to the main character. Saying what or just how redeeming would take away from the story. Just know, if you're reading this novel--hold on, it will get better.
There were many scary moments--well not scary necessarily, but definitely hair-raising and freaky. The narration is done from the point of view of a surviving mother who's husband has quarantined himself in the shed/playhouse outside their house.
This is one of those books that is hard to review, this one on two fronts. One being I cannot say much without giving away the entire book. And two, I really didn't know WHAT to think of it until the final chapters.
Now, with the word pandemic in the title, I did expect a little more description of the pandemic that is harming everyone. Not just some sentences here and there that explain the aftermath.
Overall a very slow going, depressing book that I'm glad that I read/listened to. If I'd stopped halfway through, I wouldn't have liked it. Having finished it, I'm glad I didn't stop.
Audiobook was provided for review the narrator.
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10 of 14 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Great narration makes this very creepy, very sad tale stand out. Immediately you are put into the story, and the characters come alive... but for how long?
Had to skip large chunks of this. Ok because it blathered on so badly. The main character grated on me and the husband was a scumbag