Monday, August 02, 2010

168 (2010 #33). How To Survive A Natural Disaster

by Margaret Hawkins

This 199-page novel is a good character study of a dysfunctional family and their odd neighbor. The story is told through the voices of six of them: May, an adoptee who chooses not to speak until age seven (and therefore everyone thinks she is developmentally disabled); her spoiled and self-centered older half-sister, April; her worrywart mother, Roxane; her philandering artist father, Craig; their three-legged dog, Mr. Cosmo (yes, a dog); and agoraphobic next-door-neighbor Phoebe.

The chapters alternate between these different narrators. A few are quite short - only one sentence each. Others are much longer and often have the narrator self-analyzing and sharing secrets. A surprise climax leads to a not-completely-believable happy ending. Despite the seriousness of the "natural disaster," I found this book to be rather droll. I'd recommend this book for those who like dark humor.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

[This advance reader edition was sent to me by The Permanent Press and will be passed on to someone else to read and hopefully review.]

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