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Posted February 24, 2014
The 1918 flu pandemic was misleadingly called "The Spanish Flu" due to World War I-era censors from both sides burying information about the effect of the pandemic in their countries. However, they freely reported about the flu in neutral Spain, hence the name. While the title is misleading, the effects of it were not; over 500 million people were infected. Of those, somewhere between 50 and 100 million died.
Jacqueline Druga brings the symptoms of the 1918 flu back in written form. In The Flu, the outbreak is first seen in Alaska, but then quickly circumnavigates the globe in a quicker fashion than it did almost a century ago. The book travels the US to keep up with the rapidly evolving situation. The story is told over the course of several weeks, but the pacing is such that there is an immediacy to the events as they transpire.
The main focus of the action is the small town of Lodi, Ohio (a real town at the junction of I-76 and I-71). Here, small town life goes on as it has for many years. Dylan is a woman estranged from her husband supporting herself and her 3 kids by working in her dad's video store. Mick Owens is the police chief of Lodi and his heart still burns for Dylan since their high school days. (As an aside, while reading this book, I pictured Chief Owens as a younger Sam Elliott and Dylan as a real life version of Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie. I apologize for planting that in your heads.) Patrick comes to town as a new school teacher who takes an interest in Dylan's youngest son Trigger. This slice of idyll comes to an abrupt end as the pandemic reaches their collective doorsteps.
It is the collective effort of Chief Owens, Lars, national health officials and a biker gang that help Lodi survive the initial wave before events conspire to bring the horror of the pandemic to their collective doorsteps. Even at that critical time, people step up - particularly Chief Owens - to save the day. Alas, there are casualties in this fight and the ending is bittersweet.
The strong point of this book are its believable and real characters. You will meet people and say to yourself that you know someone who talks/acts like that. Love is expressed in a wonderful way that is not sickly sweet - there is real honest love being shown in Dylan's family. I loved the way that familial love was shown in this book.
Two downers for me were the depiction of homosexual sex; the inclusion of this scene seemed forced and was IMO included solely for shock value. This book did not need that; it was well written as it was and the closeness of the two characters involved could've been demonstrated in other ways. Also, for a book with plenty of talk about wrestling, the Nature Boy's first name is spelled RIC not RICK!!
This was my first experience with a pandemic novel and I hope future books I read from this sub-genre measure up to this effort.
BOTTOM LINE: You can catch this flu without worrying about being off sick or needing to see a doctor.
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Posted April 9, 2014
What I think is a man made virus, kept in cold storage in Alaska. Away from populations so it can be studied without worry of infecting the masses. As so often happens when a story stars off this way, the virus gets out and infects the entire continent faster than anyone thought possible. Then we are introduced to a cast of characters in Lodi, Ohio of all places. I found it very strange as to why we were concerned with the population of such a small and unassuming town. It isn’t until the second part of the book that I was able to understand why the town of Lodi, Ohio is even relevant. Full of interesting characters that are developed very well. I would even say there were too many characters to keep track of. I think it was strange that there were several distracting sex scenes that added nothing to plot. I found nothing ground breaking for terribly unique to the story. Slow to develop without a real climax, but overall good plague apocalypse adventure. A realistic insight into human nature and our will to survive and overcome anything. However I will be giving the second book a try.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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Posted January 27, 2012
I purchased The Flu thinking it would be an OK read. A filler if you like, something easy to read on my daily commute. But I was wrong - very wrong!
The Flu immediately plunges you into the story with characters that are incredibly likeable and not the usual infallible types that dominate the PA genre. They are normal people with normal lives, and have the same feelings and fears that you could image having yourself in such situations.
The story is free-flowing and addictive, easily understandable and not bogged down by the scientific explanations that can make such novels a bit of a chore in places. I read these type of novels for fun, not an education, and The Flu has a big tick in that box.
Now, I do have to mention the errors, both spelling and grammatical in this book. But in the end, I didn't care - the story is good, the characters are great and for me, these issues did not distract me from the positive things.
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Posted July 29, 2011
The poor grammar silly spelling errors were frustrating. Was there no editor? BUT, the story was compelling, gripping. I read this 700 plus page book in two days. Could not put it down!
The earth is overcrowded today. Mother Nature does her job and "culls" the population. With what? A horrific form of flu. And when you think it's over, it's not over!! I actually cried a few tears during the last several chapters.
Perhaps I shouldn't have read it while I had a cold, however, lol!!
I recommend this book...if you are willing to overlook the printing erros that pop up here and there. For $3.99, it was a very intense read.
WHAT IT??? at it's best.
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Posted August 24, 2011
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Posted December 18, 2011
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