book review: z for zachariah

Robert C. O’Brien’s Z for Zachariah is a post-apocalyptic novel that’s kind of awesome. There are only two characters in the book, Ann, a sixteen year old girl who lives in this farmhouse in a valley that’s been spared the fallout wastes surrounding them, and Mr. Loomis, a scientist who shows up with a one-of-a-kind radiation proof suit. The book starts off with her being wary of him, but then he does something stupid and gets radiation poisoning and then she takes care of him.

It’s a pretty great little book. It starts after Ann’s been there alone for a year after her family left to go find help so she’s competent at living alone and getting shit done on her own. The change that happens in her relationship with Mr. Loomis is really well done. The gender- age- and power-dynamics are all pretty first rate. I was tense tense tense.

It’s not a very subtle book, but it makes sense (and isn’t cartoony in its post-apocalyticness like Fallout nor wrist-slitting like The Road). A lot of the equipment she can use is in the store because there were Amish farms in the vicinity before the war. It was a well-thought out straightforward little story. I liked it a lot.

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