Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Zone One" and "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk"

Three out of Five Stars

This book has an post-apocalyptic setting -- a mysterious illness creates zombies out of many people, leaving others untouched, and after the unidentified plagues starts to wind down, causes survivors to form enclaves in decimated cities.

I expected more.  I started out eagerly expecting a story that would tell the why and wherefore, like Stephen King's "The Stand", Justin Cronin's "The Passage" (who ironically loved the book), Robert McCammon's "Swan Song" or even Robert Matheson's "I Am Legend".  At least I wasn't naive enough to expect a "Hunger Games".

My problems were the unanswered questions:

~Why was Connecticut always called names? 

~What was the best guess for the "Last Day"?

~The relentless mentioning of the character with his first and last name -- "Mark Spitz", never just "Mark", or even "Spitz".  I'm sure Whitehead had a reasoning for this but it irritated me and made the flow of the book falter.

Lots of questions a reader may have are just never answered.  It's more a story of survival than how come they HAVE to survive -- what put them there in the first place.  While Whitehead is certainly very well educated with an amazing vocabulary, the book seemed tedious and took me too long to read -- I kept having to go back to reread what Whitehead wrote, wondering what he was on about.  There also seemed to be a marked lack of plot.

I'm rating this squarely in the middle with Three Stars because there were some very good parts, but overall, the book isn't my favorite of this genre.

Four out of Five Stars

I love Dave Sedaris.  His wry sense of humor and self-deprecation has always endeared him to me.

This book is a book of modern fables of a sort, anthropomorphizing animals.  You could easily substitute "guy down the street" for "chipmunk", as the animals take on very distinctive human traits, such as waiting in a complaint line kvetching.  There's even a couple of well-intended swears that make you either gasp or laugh out loud.

The artist for the "Olivia" books illustrated, and I have two things to say to Mr. Olivia Artist -- the baby lamb -- REALLY?????  And the back end of the rhino -- holy proctologist, dude.  But, they fit the story and the humor, pathos, sadness, hilarity -- there's a bit for everyone.

A very short book you can tackle in a day.

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Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

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