Friday, February 13, 2015

"Zone One" - Colson Whitehead

"In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. 

Now the plague is receding, and the Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed Forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka Zone One - but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety - the "malfunctioning" straggles, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives. 

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams working in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitiz's desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world. 

And then things start to go wrong."

Hello fellow bibliophiles,

As I sit here set to write the second review on this blog, I feel such disappointment. With this book, something happened that NEVER happens with me when I am reading. By this I mean I could not finish the book. No matter how terrible a book is, I always push through to the end. I figured I could do the same with this one. I tried, I really did. After multiple attempts and several weeks, I finally quit. I'm a quitter. I have come to a point in my life where I feel it is best said with the following mantra: "Life is too short to read bad books." So here is why I am now a quitter:

This book had potential. It had GREAT potential to fit right in with all the other books in the post-apocalyptic genre. But no matter how much potential the book had, it still fell short. The measly 89 pages that I was able to get through were unbearable. Unbearable mostly due to Whitehead's writing style. One can only take so many adjectives in one sentence. To say the writing was flourished is an understatement. So. Much. Description. Whitehead is could be an exceptional writer; I'll give him that. But exceptional writers give something back to the reader with their writing. We want to feel the writing, the story. Whitehead doesn't do that. His writing is cold. It's boring. And more than I can take.

This is why I am a quitter. I give this book a 1 out of 5. I'm feeling generous. While I would not recommend the book, I will add this: Every reader has their own reading styles just as every writer has their own writing styles. You may enjoy this book. You may LOVE details after details. But I don't. I want to feel like I am there with the characters without being languished in vocabulary.

Fear not, I have already begin my next novel! From here on out my plan each week is to put up a review every Sunday/Monday, another Wednesday/Thursday, and then possibly a "Flashback Friday" featuring a review of a favorite book of mine. As  always, I hope you enjoy the review. Please share your feedback, thoughts, and recommendations!

Happy reading fools :)

Coming Soon: "Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love."

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