The Things That Keep Us Here

  • by Carla Buckley
  • Narrated by Kimberly Farr, Abby Craden
  • 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

How far would you go to protect your family?
Ann Brooks never thought shed have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. In this chillingly urgent novel, Carla Buckley confronts us with the terrifying decisions we are forced to make when ordinary life changes overnight.
A year ago, Ann and Peter Brooks were just another unhappily married couple trying and failing to keep their relationship together while they raised two young daughters. Now the world around them is about to be shaken as Peter, a university researcher, comes to a startling realization: A virulent pandemic has made the terrible leap across the ocean to Americas heartland.
And it is killing 50 out of every 100 people it touches.
As their town goes into lockdown, Peter is forced to return home with his beautiful graduate assistant. But the Brookses safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce, and neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and the community is left huddling in the dark.
Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear.
Carla Buckley's poignant debut raises important questions to which there are no easy answers, in an emotionally riveting tale of one family facing unimaginable stress.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I don't believe it!

It seems unlikely that a book about an apocalyptic catastrophe could be boring, but this book pulls it off. These characters are stilted and are just too dumb to live. Scene after scene does not make sense. The family is starving and they know a neighbor with lots of food is dead yet it takes forever before it occurs to them they should go get the food. The actions of the characters just don't seem real. It was like Ozzie and Harriet meets H1N1. I can see that there were plot reasons for all the stupidity, but the author has put setting up minor plot elements above believable characters.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

A tedious near-apocalypse w/ boring, obnoxious...

...or unlikeable characters.

A pity. I've read two other books by this author and really liked them. This (her first novel) is amazingly boring and annoying. That's a real feat. It's not often that a possible apocalypse is so deadly dull.

When the reader doesn't care if all the main characters die--and in fact may wish the main character (Ann) and her obnoxious older daughter (95% of her dialogue is her saying mean or snotty things) succumb to the avian flu, that's a problem. As for the rest: the ex husband is boring but decent and intelligent, unlike his horrid ex-wife; his foreign grad student was a missed opportunity--her character was not at all explored; the 8-yr-old daughter was the only one who was likeable albeit not particularly interesting.

The book was about 4 hours too long. I "fast forwarded" through those last hours. Just way too much internal dialogue/thoughts from the awful Ann. Things take way too long to happen--even boring things: Did we really need to listen to 4 minutes of Ann trying to find her keys and all her thoughts about where they could be? Who could have moved them? No, surely not Peter--he wouldn't have done that, and on and on for 4 minutes. So very much of the book was like that.

The audio narrator didn't really help things either.

The only part I liked: the epilogue.
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- NMwritergal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-09-2010
  • Publisher: Random House Audio