Thursday, November 11, 2010
Review: How to Survive a Natural Disaster
My main thought when reading this book was "Wow, I didn't see that coming." I thought I knew how this book was going to end, but I ended up being surprised, which is a good thing. My second thought upon finishing this book: this is one messed-up family. Told by six different characters, including a dog, this is the story of a last-ditch effort to save a marriage, and the profound effects of those efforts on everyone else.
That last-ditch effort is a child, May, adopted from Peru by the disastrous Roxanne in an effort to salvage her marriage to Craig. The entire family is messed-up, both parents are treacherously immature. May copes with her family by going mute, and by becoming obsessed with her sister, April. April cannot cope with the attention, and neither girl gets what she needs from their mother. The family is clearly headed into a downward spiral to disaster. There's some foreshadowing to the ultimate crisis, but the form of that crisis still comes as a shock.
I was very suspicious of a book that is, in part, narrated by a dog, but it's not gimmicky in the way I expected. This is actually quite an engaging book, and I became invested in May's future.
Margaret Hawkins, How to Survive a Natural Disaster (Permanent Press, 2010) ISBN: 1579622046