Can a Vermont couple, recently transplanted from Brooklyn, survive the worst weather disaster in recorded history? That’s the question asked in BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge’s next novel, WE ARE UNPREPARED (MIRA) by Meg Little Reilly.
Ironically I was reading this unsettling novel last week, while hurricane Matthew was barreling towards us here in South Florida. For once, Presidential politics had been replaced on the television by the weather-casters determined to scare the hell out of us, along with the news anchors urging us to buy everything edible on store shelves. But then again, look what happened to Haiti and other parts of the east coast. You never can be too prepared, or can you? The characters in WE ARE UNPREPARED become so obsessed by an approaching storm, it threatens to split the town apart and emotionally damage them before it even arrives.
Pia and Ash have left their lucrative urban careers behind to live a more authentic life in Isole, Vermont (pop.6,481). They want to learn how to “pickle” things and lead a slower, more meaningful life. Their Brooklyn friends think they’re crazy, but secretly are really jealous of them giving up the fast lane and kind of wish they had the guts. But soon after they arrive, as they’re settling into their new home, the U.S. weather authorities announce that a natural disaster, called “The Superstorm” is on it’s way. The Superstorm is in the form of “as many as thirty named tropical storms and hurricanes,” plus “likely heat waves and drought, and even severe blizzards.” That’s in September.
Everyone in town tries to stay calm and go about their everyday life, but soon it’s all anyone can talk about and paranoia begins eating away at the populace. Things aren’t any better between Pia and Ash. He’s on the side of the government tools and she’s working with the “paranoid preppers” and both are at odds. You can cut the tension at home with a knife. The storm finally arrives in the spring and by then, fear has spread like the plague.
As a reader, you’re ready for the storm to finally arrive. I liked the addition of the characters August and Maggie to break up the main interaction between Pia and Ash. I don’t want to give anything away, but I could tell where the relationship between Pia and Ash was headed from the beginning, especially after the worms moved in.
I found the topic of WE ARE UNPREPARED incredibly interesting and timely. I live in South Florida where we have submerged three-inches since Cat 5, Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992, and continue to. Miami Beach becomes “Venice” whenever it rains. In addition to Zika and dengue fever, we have more tropical diseases appearing in our area. Yet our Republican Governor Scott has banned all state employees from acknowledging or using the words “climate change.”
I pray we are prepared when it becomes necessary.
Meg is a writer, environmentalist, crafter, hiker of mountains, swimmer of lakes, and reader of everything. Before getting serious about writing books, she worked for President Obama as Deputy Associate Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget; and prior to that, as Spokesperson at the U.S. Treasury. She’s worked at Environmental Defense Fund, a couple great consulting firms, and has had more political internships than she can count. She’s eternally grateful to the smart people at Vermont Public Radio for hiring her out of college. She has a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.A. from the George Washington University. She grew up in Vermont and when not writing, you can find her playing outside with her husband Dan and two delightful daughters.
For all things Meg check her out on twitter @MegLittleReilly and her website http://www.meglittlereilly.com
Thanks to BookSparks for providing a copy of WE ARE UNPREPARED for an honest review. We have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us about the worst weather you’ve ever encountered. We’ll announce a winner Monday, October 17th. Good luck!
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