Friday, August 3, 2012

Etiquette for an Apocalypse by Anne Mendel

Etiquette for an Apocalypse
by Anne Mendel
Publisher: Bracket Press
Publication date: April 22, 2012
Genre: Adult Post-Apocalyptic Fiction/humor
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository


It’s the 2020 Apocalypse and Sophie Cohen, former social worker turned neighborly drug dealer, must keep her family alive amid those pesky end of the world issues: starvation, earthquakes, plagues, gang violence and alas more starvation.She investigates a serial killing and takes down the sinister emerging power structure while learning to use a pizza box solar oven, bond with her chickens and blast tin cans from the perimeter fence with a Ruger 9MM. In order to accomplish all this she must find a way to love her mother, accept her daughter’s adulthood and reignite her moribund marriage. She might discover that a decentralized, consensus driven life—without fossil fuels, iPhones and chocolate éclairs—isn’t the end of the world, after all.
Set in the year 2020 this post-apocalyptic novel dishes up dark humor, memorable characters and a startling look at a post apocalypse reality. Mendel’s debut novel is captivating as she takes us into downtown Portland and into the lives of the Cohen family. I was held hostage by the protagonist's voice and the suspenseful plot.

The tale begins when we step into the life of Sophia Cohen. Before devastating natural disasters occurred she was a mother, wife and social worker. Now she is a drug dealer trading medication for food and supplies. The residence in the condo that the Cohen family resides in, work together as a small commune. They all have skills and use those for the good of the building. Bertrand, Sophie's husband, works at the local hospital for bread and one night tells Sophia about the bodies of young woman showing up with their hearts missing. He thinks they should investigate and the tale that unfolds rocks their world and forever changes them. They learn of a power struggle between two rival gangs and quickly realize they are all in danger. Told from Sophia’s voice, Mendel breathes such an air of believability into this tale, that I found myself completely immersed. 

The characters in this tale are all unique. Some are dark, some pathetic and some downright scary. Sophia wears many caps. She is; a daughter seeking approval, a wife who wants to be held, and a mother who worries for her daughter’s future. She is a sister, a caregiver and an organizer. She is brave even when she wants to turn tail and run. Sophia is clever and sees the big picture. To the outside world she is quiet, bright, a leader, a shoulder to cry on, and the voice of reason. On the inside she is a scared, sarcastic, witty woman who wants a hot bath, a piece of chocolate cake and maybe some friggin toilet paper. I adore her and I love the running commentary she has in her head. At times I laughed so hard I had tears. Bertrand is a quiet man. He is soft spoken, liked by all and driven in his professional field. He takes healing very seriously and at times Sophia thinks he is oblivious to the world outside of the hospital. As we learn about Bertrand we find out there is so much more to this man. Lulu is Sophia’s somewhat eccentric mother and I loved this silly woman. The other characters in this tale were well fleshed out and took on lives of their own. From the bad guys to the not so bad guys I was highly entertained and found them all to be memorable. It isn’t often that secondary characters have this much depth.

The world-building was so surreal. Mendel lays out a post-apocalyptic world and holds nothing back. She briefly explains how this world came to be, at least enough to satisfy this reader and paints the results in a horrifying, humorous, and realistic way. I loved the attention to detail from the source of food to the longing for toilet paper. The power struggle that is occurring in Portland and the Cohen’s inevitable role in it was fascinating, scary and believable. This is not a fast paced tale; it is complex and beautifully woven.  I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, the characters and the stark reality.

Fans of post-apocalyptic novel are sure to fine Mendel’s dark, gritty and humorous tale a delight. While some of my YA readers might fine the pace of this novel to slow for their taste, I think you will find it worth the read.  Etiquette for an Apocalypse was highly entertaining and a fantastic survival guide. I have added Anne Mendel to my authors to watch list and look forward to reading more of her work.

I want to thank Brackets Press for providing this finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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23 Comments:

At July 17, 2013 at 11:32 PM , Anonymous emaginette said...

Great review. :-)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:35 AM , Anonymous Michelle@ Book Briefs said...

I love the wide variety of books you read and review Kimba! The title of this book cracks me up too. Thanks for the great review

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:28 AM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Dark gritty and humourous now that is an intersting description for an apocalyptic book. I saw this on another blog awhle back and it peaked my interest and I love the cover. Glad it it earned high marks from you, Kimba!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Anna :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Giselle I hope you check it out. :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous Giselle Cormier said...

Omg this sounds totally fun and hilarious! Plus I'm all for pathetic characters!! haha. Great review Kimba I've seen this cover before but it's the first time I really check what it's about and read a review on it!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous Blodeuedd said...

I am happy to see that you enjoyed it too. It was sure different from the post apocalyptic books that I have read so far

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

This was a good one..would love to here your thoughts when you read it :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous becca said...

I have not heard of this before but i love the cover! There is something funny about it,made me giggle inside. It sounds amazing!! I will def add it to my TBR! I need to read more post apocalyptic world xx thanks for sharing :) xx

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Heidi..i really liked this one :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I know RIGHT, that and things like soap, hygiene products etc. The heck with food ..i want to smell good!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

As a book budget blowing diva I feel your pain. Hope you enjoy this when the budget allows :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf said...

This sounds like a more unique take on post apocalyptic world! And I don't know how well I'd fare without TP...better stock my basement now!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous laura thomas said...

I have been hearing good things about this one. Have to replenish my review fund so I can grab it soon!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Totally agree on the cover and it fits the book perfectly!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks Nick I hope you try it :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I hope you try it Christina. This is the most reality based I have ever read.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Aww hugs back. This was good, totally love the characters.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous Nick said...

Sounds like a very interesting read. Seriously, how do you discover these awesome-sauce books ? :D
Post-apocalyptic books are a favorite of mine, so I have no doubt that I'll enjoy reading it. The characters and the world-building seem great! Very convincing review, Kim! :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous Christina Franke said...

Yours is the second good review I've seen for this! I definitely need to read it, what with my obsession with dystopian and post-apocalytpic fiction!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:50 AM , Anonymous Barbara W. said...

That cover! You had me sold in the third paragraph, what a great review. Can I just tackle you and hug you for reviewing something I want immediately that happens to already be OUT this time?! :D

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:52 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

This was a cool read and so different from anything out there. :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 2:52 AM , Anonymous MaryAnn said...

This sounds really good! I am big fan of Apocalyptic, post-Apocalyptic, and Dystopian reads. I love that it humorous and that there are "stand out" characters! Fantastic review <3

 

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