Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Before This is Over: A book review

On occasion our electricity has gone out on a seemingly calm night. No thunderstorm or snowstorm. Just out. For whatever reason. It happens, right?

And when it does, the first thing I think to myself is, “I wonder how long the power will be out.” And the second thing I think to myself is, “Is this the beginning of the end? Is this how it all starts?”

You know what I mean, don’t you?  We live in an unstable world. And we live in a very small world. It gets smaller everyday through the advancements of technology, transportation, and communication.

I used to take a “little house on the prairie/simple life” approach to the loss of electricity and just enjoy playing games by candlelight with my family. Not anymore. Now my brain goes into a sort of survival check list mode.

Since Y2K and 9/11 I think more people have become Preppers at some level-  if you don’t know what that is, it’s people who prepare to take care of themselves in the case of a natural, political, or chemical disaster, where the infrastructure of our modern daily lives becomes disabled. Stockpiling non-perishable foods, or weapons and ammunition, or maybe money or fuel are ways to prep for disaster.

Prepping is a casual conversation we sometimes have with friends and family. Half in jest and half in truth. We say things like, “I’m going to hunker down at so and so’s house because they have all the wine, haha!”

One conversation was about hunkering down and digging in. A much trusted military/law enforcement/man-in-the-know said, “You wouldn’t want to do that. To stay alive, you’d have to be on the move all the time.” Crap. That just wrecked my whole little roughing it, living off the land scenario.

The reason for this post is because I just finished a book called Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie. Stephen King and Dean Koontz can give me the heebie-jeebies like no other, but this book scared the shit out of me.

I need to give a *spoiler alert* before I go on. I’m going to try to not say too much about the story, but I do have to say some things that might be considered spoilers. So if you want to read a scary-ass book about contagion, this one is it. ‘Nuff said. Stop reading now.

If you’re still reading, I HAVE to tell you about this book!

A woman/wife/mom, follows the news of a highly contagious virus spreading across Europe. She takes the info seriously and starts stock-piling food. Her husband thinks she’s overreacting. 

When she pulls her young son out of school and then forbids her husband from going into work they have heated arguments about it.

She stock-piles two-weeks-worth of non-perishable food for her family of four. (That's not enough- anywhere near enough food.)

Her teen son returns home from camp, with a friend, who can’t go home because his mom is sick. 

The old lady next door begs them to take her in. They won’t because there is no way of knowing if she’s contaminated. They tell her to go home but promise to provide her with meals three times a day.

So, from the very beginning of the crisis, she’s responsible for feeding six people instead of as planned her family of four. Eventually the friend’s dad picks him up, because the boy’s mom is getting better. 

Also, at the beginning of the crisis, the family turns their pet house-cat, Mr. Moon, out to fend for himself. (Before that point in the story I actually thought they might end up eating him.)

There’s a heart-breaking part in the story where the other neighbor’s three-year-old daughter ends up in their yard. They have to decide what to do about her. 

They watch looters come through the neighborhood and clean out neighbor’s houses. They have no idea if the neighbors have left or are dead in the house.

Electricity and water are turned off.  

Funny moments take place from the five-year-old's point of view on the necessity of new toilet habits and the lack of toilet paper.

The story is so realistic. Everything that happens in this story could easily happen in any industrialized nation.

I won’t tell the end of the story, but as always, I have lingering questions. (I believe good stories do that.) Like, what ever happened to Mr. Moon, the cat? Did the teen friend’s mom get better, or was it her dying wish to see her son? If so, did the friend and his whole family end up dying?

Any mom could relate to this story because moms will go to almost any length to protect their children. Read this book. Now excuse me while I go prep…

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.


* All images courtesy of Google

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