Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Z for Zechariah by Robert O'Brien

May 20
I am afraid.
Someone is coming.
That is, I think someone is coming, thought I am not sure, and I pray that I am wrong.

An Apocalyptic novel! I have no idea why I like them, but who could resist such a beginning?

Ann Burden is fortunate enough to live in a valley with a weird, meteorological weather inversion that protected the valley after nuclear and biological warfare wiped out most the rest of the world. After the last radio station dies out with a dire plea for civility from the radio announcer, Ann is left pretty much alone since her family left to see if anyone else was alive and never returned.

After a year of isolation, the arrival of a young man traveling in a "safe suit," is a worry and a blessing. Will he be a good person?

Of course not. Then the novel would be boring. Instead, he starts behaving erratically, and when she has to flee, it is tense and hard to stop reading.

The best part of the book is that this protagonist never loses her own dignity and character even when struggling to survive because she never loses sight of his humanity, even when he deserves it.

A Caution: The scene that precipitates her need to run and hide is when he sneaks into her room with intention to physically assault her. No sexual details are given, and there is no direct mention of rape, but his intention is clear. This is a necessary plot development and not exploited for mere titillation.

Rating: 3 Vatican Flags


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