‘To The Survivors ‘ is the other book that caused conflict among our reviewers this month (besides ‘Here & There’). This book also ignited an editorial crisis of sorts. If a book is poorly written but packs an emotional wallop from well thought out characters and an otherwise great story, should be it be dismissed out of hand and given a bad review or rewarded for what it accomplishes?
First let us get the bad out of the way because we would be dishonest if we didn’t point out to potential readers the terrible editing and writing. The author seems to use commas in a whole different manner than what would be considered normal. And we don’t mean a few missing commas here and there ,but on nearly every page there are either too few or too many, seemingly depending upon the author’s whims. At first we thought it was perhaps some long lost British style but soon put that out of our mind. Most sentences are missing at least one comma and sometimes periods, and we’ve never seen semicolons used like this actual sentence from the book: “I doubt that; look sit; tell me; how?”
Another big problem is the style of constantly telling things: Gary, Joe, and Liam went here. Val, and Kelly and Cass went there and did something. etc. etc. There are often so many characters involved it’s hard to keep track.
Now if you can get past that (and we did very quickly) you will find a heart warming story of survival told in the simplest terms, about people who we grew to love. It’s been a long, long time since we shed a tear over a story, but the character Hanna did it for us. There were long sections we had to stop reading because our eyes were full of tears. A disease has swept the world and everyone is dying in various stages. The government is struggling to help those that are still alive, The story revolves around a resourceful young man named Gary who may be immune but does his best to help others and keep the human race and civilization going as long as he can.
Some reviewers criticized that humans wouldn’t act this way in an apocalypse—noble and self sacrificing. We’re willing to hope they would. Certainly maybe in England they would? In any case it was so refreshing to read about good hearted human beings like Gary (our new idol) trying to survive—without zombies, vampires or aliens getting in the way.
Despite it’s considerable flaws, we loved this book for its ode to people who wouldn’t just lay down and die and most of all for its humanity. It is a book we will cherish and read again and again and that’s a high complement.