that fabled devastating storm to end all storms is about to
hit your area, what would you do: work with your community to keep
everyone safe, take a survivalist everyone-for-himself stand, turn to
God for protection, or await government help? As it turns out Ash and
his wife, Pia, pick different options:
We were driving east on Route 15 when the world first learned of the coming storms. Pia and I had just met with a fertility specialist in Burlington and we were both staring straight ahead at the road as we digested the information we'd received there. I didn't want to see a doctor about having babies. That was for people who were old or sick or in a rush, and we were none of those things. But it's true that we had sort of been trying on and off for a year, so with a little persuasion, I agreed to the appointment. Conceiving a child had become Pia's obsession in the preceding months, and her determination trumped my ambivalence.—We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly (MIRA Books, 2016, Chapter 1, ARC)
- Setting: Isole, Vermont, in the not so distant future.
- Circumstances: Ash and Pia had been living a very urban life
in Brooklyn before deciding to move to Ash's native Vermont to live a
quieter life and maybe start a family. They begin to settle in, meeting
neighbors and townsfolk. But when the government predicts an impending
super storm, the cracks in their marriage and their new community start
to burst open.
- Genre: adult, psychological study, not exactly dystopian
- Themes: marriage, community, environmental issues, survival
- Characters: Ash (the guy) and Pia, a thirty-something couple; August, a neighbor boy who seems to be alone; Maggie, a schoolteacher who befriends Ash; Peg, a scientist with an interest in the environment; various other community members, including survivalists, fundamental Christians, Yuppies, and farmers
- Why I want to read this: Let's face it, storms in the East seem to be getting worse, and I'm curious how a small community and a couple will cope with a mega-storm. The novel promises to explore the personal and social ramifications of a natural disaster.
- What some reviews have said: The plot is a little drawn out and some of the secondary characters are not very well developed. The story is told from Ash's point of view and in retrospect, so we know he survives. Also, apparently We Are Unprepared is more a psychological study than it is a treatise on climate change.
- Something to know: Author Meg Little Reilly worked for the Obama administration as deputy associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget.