Monday, January 15, 2007

07.02 Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

Z for Zachariah(1975) by Robert C. O'Brien
Pbk, Collier, 249 p.

Continuing with the post-apocalyptic theme in '07. My eye caught this novel in the used bookstore the other day and I remembered seeing it on some of the PA lists. It turns out, of course, to be a young adult novel written by Robert C. O'Brien of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH fame (See Olman's and Jarrett's reviews).

A young girl and her family survive the nuclear apocalypse (?!) in an oddly situated little valley that somehow managed to be unscathed. The family leaves to find help and never returns leaving the 16 year old to fend for herself. She had mad farm skills and really kicks ass for the first few years. There are lots of supplies and a few animals which really help out.

One day she spots a man with a radiation suited enter the valley and she hides out. He is amazed and explores around a bit before mistakenly bathing in a contaminated stream. The man falls ill and the girl comes down to help him out. As she is nursing him back to health she finds out (from his fevered mumbling) that he was a scientist working on this anti-radiation material. After some horrific events in the underground laboratory he emerged with the worlds only survival suit.

As the man recovers the girl realizes that the man is pretty messed up and that they may not be able to coexist in the valley together. In the end, her survival skills must be pitted against his strength and wisdom.

The book was quite good. It is written from her POV with each chapter being entries in her journal. I thought it gave some good messages about dealing with loneliness, isolation and loss.


Olman Feelyus said...

Interesting. Nice find. I'll put this on my list. It's funny because it sounds like it has some NIMH like tropes in it. There is a perfect hidden valley and bad scientist outsiders in suits in that book. I like the idea of the self-trained survivalist girl against the scientist.

Jarrett said...

And don't forget Meezly's review of Nimh, which is my personal favorite of the three.

dsgran said...

You know, for once I'd like to read a post-apocalyptic book thats about feeling like you're a part of a community and what it means to be a family.

Vieux Karl said...

Jarrett gains a brownie point and Jason loses one.

beemused said...

I can't believe one of my best-written reviews (ever) was so thoughtlessly omitted!

anyway, I'll put this one down for my to-read list. this review wasn't half-bad either :-)

Castaway said...

Props to you for cracking that book -- the cover is an immediate turn off from a design perspective. The book sounds good though... you know what they say.