Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki
Author: Edan Lepucki
The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can't reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.
Terrified of the unknown but unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.
A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent,California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.
I was really excited to read this novel. I love the vintage type cover, and the premise was promising, sounding like my kind of book, dystopian and creepy. It has taken me some time to write this review, there are so many little nuances to it, but I was also left with some questions.
In California, the world has been devastated. California has been torn apart by earthquakes, the midwest buried in unrelenting blizzards, life is hard, and people are living a most basic existence. There are a few Communities out there, owned by big name companies like Walmart and Amazon, where the quality of life is much like pre-apocalypse.
Cal and Frida decide to strike out on their own, and leave L.A. to live in the wilderness. There are a lot of flashbacks, and we learn that Frida has a brother Micah who went a little militant. Frida finds out she is pregnant, and here is where things begin to change and get a little nutso.
I thought this book was a little slow, and kind of plodded along. Also, I felt like it could have been longer. I wanted to know more about so many different things that came up in the book, and they were just glossed right over. I wanted more info, I wanted answers! As for the characters, I really liked Cal. He seemed steady and honest, loyal, someone you could depend on. I didn't like Frida as much. She seemed duplicitous, and shifty. But hey, she made great bread.
To me, this book is about human nature - our heights, our depths, our motives, our desires, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Survival is a nasty business, and when people are brought down low, who knows what can happen.
Overall, I did like this book. I felt like it could have been developed a bit further, but I did like the world Lepucki created a lot. The biggest problem was that I wanted more of it! Sadly, I could see some of the stuff that happens in this book really happening, so perhaps this book could be taken as a warning.