One of the best things about blogging is the feedback that I get from the people who read what I write. I would like to say that the feedback is always positive, but it isn’t. You can’t offer up your thoughts opinions, and feeling without someone disagreeing with you, or taking offense at something you might have said. Still, feedback, both good and bad is a healthy thing for any writer.
A while back, some of my blog posts came to the attention of a certain individual who was moved to comment on a few of the things that I wrote. After commenting at my blog for a while, this man got in touch with me via email and told me that he had written a book and wanted to know if I would read it and offer a review. Of course I was happy to oblige.
The book is named American Apocalypse and it is a very-near-future tale. This isn’t your regular tales-of-the-future science fiction novel, and it isn’t some post-nuclear holocaust, zombie-filled action novel… what it is is a cautionary tale of what might happen or will happen to our country if/when our economy collapses. I’m not talking about how things have gotten in the recent recession, I’m talking about collapse… with unemployment at better than 14%.
This is the premise of the story. It is set in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC… on streets and in neighborhoods that I drive through with regularity. In this possible future, the new (awful) economy has had such an effect on local governments, the cities, counties, and towns have had to reduce, and in some cases, eliminate many services that we, as modern Americans take for granted.
The story that follows is told from the viewpoint of a man named Gardener, an unemployed homeless man who is another victim of the economic catastrophe, who not only learns how to protect himself, but becomes sort of a local peacekeeper. The stories of people who were once working and middle class Americans, who had a certain level of expectation of goods and services being available from their societies, are stark, and rather scary. Seriously… what are most of us going to do when the last truck arrives at Wal-Mart, or at the Giant/Wegmans/Safeway/Piggly Wiggly/Shop-Rite? This is Gardener’s brave new world.
One of the things that I liked best about this book is that there is very little sugar-coating on the story. The author writes with the authenticity and the attention to detail of someone who was raised in the area about which he is writing. The author also doesn’t hold out any hope for a government solution to the problems that the people in his story face.
If you get a chance to read this book, you won’t be disappointed, I promise you.
Note: Lookout for my interview with the author, which I will post tomorrow.