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‘In a world without power, you need the power of friendship and love to survive.’
Hey guys, sorry it’s been a while since I last posted. It’s been a busy week with lots of ups and downs.
Today’s review is for The After Days, by Amy Ginsberg.
Although I wasn’t sure what genre this was (Goodreads didn’t list a specific genre), I feel like it sits on the fence between Contemporary Fiction and Dystopian Fantasy.
Can you imagine a life without electricity, running water, or any of the things we have today because of them?
I find it hard to, although I have been wondering what that world would be like.
Since reading The After Days, I’m beginning to get a clearer picture of just how much we’ve come to rely on such things.
This book follows two couples: Rachel and Zach, and Julie and Chris. The four friends soon band together when the power goes out across most of the world. Before long, people are looting, running water into their bathtubs before their supply runs out, and in some cases, even killing people in the name of survival.
Set in Stoneybrook, USA, we watch as the entire power grid goes down.
This quote from early on in the novel really hit home with me, so I’d like to share it:
‘No-one knows it is the last moment before everything fractures and transforms until it becomes unrecognizable. Before you become unrecognizable.’
From that moment a month long power outage occurs and people the four main characters have known all their lives change before their very eyes. Gone are the respectable middle class families, turned into savage animals doing anything and everything they can to hang onto life.
Key themes of survival, friendship, love, and sacrifice are wound through the book, making it an emotional read at times. There are plenty of surprise twists, some that made me happy and others that seeded dread within me.
The author’s style is crisp, using just the right amount of detail to set the scene. She emphasizes the serious nature of such an event as the power going out worldwide, showing us just how much we take everyday necessities for granted.
She created well rounded characters that held my attention and helped the story to progress at a steady rate. Speaking of which, let’s discuss the four main characters.
The characters were complex in their own ways, with Zach and Rachel (the main couple whose point of view we encounter the most) being both kind and resourceful. While Rachel is highly compassionate, a trait that sometimes caused issues in the post-electricity and running water world, Zach exercised caution around others, in order to help sustain their supplies and as a result, their lives.
Julie and Chris were a much more problematic couple, often getting into fights over the smallest of things. They did not seem compatible at all. While Julie seemed kind and funny, her husband Christopher (who detests being called Chris) was one of the most pompous and arrogant characters I’ve ever encountered in literature. There were many occasions where I just wanted to slap his character on behalf of the others, especially toward the end (if you read the book, you’ll soon see why.)
I’d like to leave you with one quote that I found myself nodding along with:
‘The demise of social media may be the best part of this crisis.’
I can’t recall if it’s Rachel or Julie that says this but I wholeheartedly agree that if social media went down, it would lead to people bonding more in person again. I feel like information is spun in a certain light (like in tabloid newspapers) to divide us based on our differences.
Imagine a world where we don’t feel compelled to answer that notification, where we go back to thriving as a community that cares for one-another.
I admit social media has brought some people together and it can be useful for businesses to gain a wider reach but since using it less this past few weeks, I’m feeling much happier in myself. Who knows what the future will bring.
After reading this, I can only hope that we will all be safe and able to learn the survival techniques that may be necessary were the power grid to go down inevitably.
Would I recommend this book?
Yes, I would. I rate it 5 stars.
A contemporary read that will really make you think about the world we live in today and how it could change at any moment.