Posted 20 hours ago

Not Alone

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With hauntingly beautiful descriptions of the natural world, this challenging novel is tough and memorable.

The emotionally wrenching story of a mother’s fight to save her young son as they struggle across a toxic and hostile world.Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. She painted a very descriptive picture of the changing world and landscape but I think being American, some of it was so foreign that it didn’t always make sense. It reads like an adventure story that somehow manages to be both bleak and hopeful, and there is an intense immediacy to the narrative that makes it impossible to stop reading. They meet several other survivors, some of whom are decent folks trying to live through the end times, and some who have more nefarious intentions.

She hopes her fiance, a military veteran named Jack, can raise Harry after she, too, succumbs to the dust. Ok, I got to page 63 and stopped because I could not stand the main character or the way she handles her kid.We know Katie is raising a little boy named Harry and they've made their little apartment their entire world, and she's been keeping him safe and fed for 5 years. After years without human contact, Katie and Harry are shocked by the arrival of a threatening newcomer, just as Katie’s persistent cough seems to have taken a turn for the worse.

I appreciate that at first it felt like a love story of a mother's sacrifice for her sons survival and the bond they share,, but I also felt like it was also as much as a story about Katie making this journey to save herself as well. With pollution a major concern, this made the story feel more believable and made it more of an uneasy read. The story weaves through their journey, but also looks into Katie's past, so we get a glimpse of who the important people in her life really were, including Jack. There’s been a microplastic storm and Katie and her young son Harry have been stranded in isolation for five years in their small flat in London. Woman and son go on road trip across post apocalyptic landscape filled with nothingness, and are arguably too stupid to have survived the first fifty fucking miles, nevermind the remaining 300.The author clearly meant for her to be a self-sufficient, strong woman who can take care of herself, but the reader is left with totally the opposite impression. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. Jackson combines heart-stopping adventure, with a deeply felt and vividly imagined central bond between mother and child which transcends the world around them. Though she’s tried to protect herself from the poisonous dust outdoors, she’s beginning to feel her lungs burn when she exerts herself. But then I really had to stop and think what would I expect from a young child living through an apocalypse?

The atmosphere of the novel, set mostly on this wild Greek island, echoes strongly the classical tragedies of Greece. Jackson’s dystopian novel wrings the last drops of optimism from our climate-challenged world but manages to distill the very essence of hope in the process. I’m worn out and haggard, as if I accompanied Katie and Harry on their trek across the post-apocalyptic wasteland. The story unfolds with a mix of flashbacks that provide a few revealing plot twists that kept me interested in how it was going to work out until the very end.I'm not sure how to rate this, because as I enjoyed the plot of the book, there was so many things I did not enjoy about this book. Jackson’s debut novel is a dystopian tale that’s so plausible – so reachable – it’s bound to impact all who read it.

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