Customer Reviews for

The Things That Keep Us Here

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Will Make You Think

Peter and Ann Brooks are married but separated when H5N1 Avian Flu hits the global human race. The virus travels and mutates so quickly that is kills 1 out of every 2 people it touches and causes communities all over the world to take drastic matters in order to survive...
Peter and Ann Brooks are married but separated when H5N1 Avian Flu hits the global human race. The virus travels and mutates so quickly that is kills 1 out of every 2 people it touches and causes communities all over the world to take drastic matters in order to survive. When their own sleepy town goes into quarantine, their two girls, Kate and Maddie, have a hard time dealing with the isolation and many deaths around them.

This is a gripping story- very sad, and all too close to home, thanks to the recent H1N1 news. The story quickly builds to the pace of a feverish thriller and keeps you on edge until the very end. The Things That Keep Us Here deals with a distinctly scary issue that makes you think about your own family and how you would react if someday this shocking situation was a reality.

Buckley will make you believe in the triumph of the human spirit through the worst of times.

posted by ChelseaW on December 15, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A gripping plot, likable characters, yet this one falls a bit short of its mark.

There are a lot of books out right now that deal with the end of the world, or a pandemic of some sort. This one deals with H5N1 and from its name alone, you can imagine the similarities to H1N1. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think about the H1N1 scare here, and...
There are a lot of books out right now that deal with the end of the world, or a pandemic of some sort. This one deals with H5N1 and from its name alone, you can imagine the similarities to H1N1. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think about the H1N1 scare here, and how it could have been much, much worse. In this novel, things take a turn for the worse and Ann is forced to make some tough decisions. As a mother, I could easily relate to Ann. The decisions she made were not made easily. They were made out of fear, and an intense desire to keep her family safe. I felt that the author did a good job of making Ann's situation desperate enough for the reader to understand her decisions.

There is a lot that didn't work for me though. This is a story of survival yet when opportunities present themselves, Ann and her husband Peter, don't always take advantage of them. If there is any chance of your kids starving, you are going to do what you have to do to ensure that they don't. There are moments when they do take advantage of a situation, but not always and the inconsistency bothered me. As I was reading, I found myself asking about water or food or weapons, etc. To me, these things are basic necessities when dealing with a pandemic of this magnitude.

To me, a couple of the characters really didn't have much of a purpose except to cause conflict between the main characters. One example of this is a young woman named Shazia. As I reader, I never really got to know her and I wondered what her purpose was besides the obvious, which I won't go into as it would give some of the story away. Her character, along with her back story seemed a bit choppy to me and could have been a bit more developed.

Overall, the situations that I expected to be the most difficult ended up being almost too easy. Too pat. Water becomes an issue and then all of a sudden there's a stash of water at your convenience. Not very believable. A trip to the hospital, in the middle of a pandemic. and she gets in and out in under an hour. Not likely.

I received this ARC several months ago so I don't know how the final version turned out, but the version that I received was a bit disjointed and could have used a bit more editing. There were some overused passages that could have been weeded out and perhaps a heavier hand could have been used as far as keeping things consistent. Without these distractions, I think I would have enjoyed the book quite a bit more.

I recently read In a Perfect World, which also deals with a pandemic, but it was much more moving for me than The Things That Keep Us Here. However, I would definitely read something from this author author again as this was Buckley's debut novel and parts of it did show some promise.

posted by TiBookChatter on February 2, 2010

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  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Will Make You Think

    Peter and Ann Brooks are married but separated when H5N1 Avian Flu hits the global human race. The virus travels and mutates so quickly that is kills 1 out of every 2 people it touches and causes communities all over the world to take drastic matters in order to survive. When their own sleepy town goes into quarantine, their two girls, Kate and Maddie, have a hard time dealing with the isolation and many deaths around them.

    This is a gripping story- very sad, and all too close to home, thanks to the recent H1N1 news. The story quickly builds to the pace of a feverish thriller and keeps you on edge until the very end. The Things That Keep Us Here deals with a distinctly scary issue that makes you think about your own family and how you would react if someday this shocking situation was a reality.

    Buckley will make you believe in the triumph of the human spirit through the worst of times.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    Terrifying possibility

    A pandemic and the unbelievable long-ranging effects. Could this really happen?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2014

    Very good!

    Well written!

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  • Posted September 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good read

    Ann and Peter Brooks are just a regular unhappily married couple with two children. Newly separated, Ann is an art teacher at her daughters' school and Peter is a university researcher working on an NIH grant.

    Peter quickly discovers a virulent strain of avian flu that has begun to spread throughout the United States. Called H5N1, this deadliest form of bird flu kills fifty percent of those infected. The ensuing change in the landscape of every part of life is frightening. Schools are closed and all public gatherings suspended. People are urged to stay indoors in their own homes. Gasoline and food are quickly in short supply as people begin to hoard what they can and fight over what they need. A weeks' long power outage following a winter storm makes everything even more difficult, compounding the isolation and fear. Peter is forced to return to the family home with his research assistant whom Ann fears is his lover.

    I don't know why, but I love disaster books and movies. I enjoyed THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE even though it's more women's fiction than science fiction. The author's depictions of the growing crisis and Ann's insistence on trying to keep at least a semblance of normality for her daughters are good. Her characterizations are not as strong, but all in all it was a nice book to read. Lynn Kimmerle

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  • Posted June 23, 2010

    A science based post Apocalyptic story for women.

    Synopsis:

    Ann and Peter are separated and going through the process of getting a divorce. Peter has instigated the separation. It's the "I love you but not in love with you" scenario. Ann is suffering from the inevitable repercussions of this, yet is mostly reconciled with the fact.

    They have two healthy girls, one 8 and the other 13, to whom they are devoted. Ann dotes on them while teaching at a local elementary school. Peter is a veterinarian, turned head research professor at the local university. He is studying viral activity between humans and animals - mainly the avian flu.

    Several massive bird die outs are reported locally and Peter is sent to investigate. The sites are visually devastating with thousands of dead birds. Shortly thereafter the US and the entire world go on alert for the virus H5N1. What was once a potential epidemic turns pandemic. People are told to isolate themselves and their families to prevent to spread of this deadly flu.

    Due to some bad luck regarding logistics Peter is reluctantly welcomed to stay at Ann's home with his gorgeous graduate assistant. As the pandemic develops and the local area is quarantined, the story progresses and we see the psychological aspects of each individual as the taken-for-granted social structures meltdown, and everyone struggles to survive psychologically and physically. As they are pushed to their limits, we see their "humanness", as they are forced to deal with horrific events.

    My Personal Thoughts:

    This apocalyptic novel is an absolute page turner. It is something which could potentially happen, which makes the story poignant. I thought the characters felt real. I did not guess how it would end. It has just enough technical information to keep it feeling intellectual and enough emotional insight to make it heart wrenching; all the while considering what it means to be imperfect and human when faced with questionable survival.

    Highly recommended for anyone interested in realistic apocalyptic scenarios and for readers who like a bit of science as well as internal conflict in their reading. I would define this as a woman's science fiction book, not to say men would not enjoy it. I give The Things That Keep Us Here - 4 stars, perhaps more since the ARC copy I read understandably felt unfinished in parts.

    I am excitedly looking forward to Carla's next novel coming out in 2011. I believe the title is Invisible.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    Survival

    Survival- I love fiction books that teach me something. This book fits that bill. From the beginning you know what we are up against. It was informative about what it would take to survive a flu outbreak.
    You also have to ask yourself what you would do if to protect your children. How far would you go? You would probably do just about anything. This story goes into just that.
    I'm drawn to survival type books but this one has more as it draws you into the marriage and friendships of the man character.
    REad it for the story, read it for the information you gain about avian flu

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