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Yet another dystopian future in which people have inexplicably become too stupid to live. I like the dystopian genre, but Sturgeon’s Law definitely applies. Good dystopian novels present an interesting world which makes sense then the writing transcend the dystopian environment. This book does none of this. It is kind of like The Road, but with a childish story and childish characters, no drama, and no tension and a silly coming of age underpinning. The cause of this dystopia is unclear, simply called the trouble, or the shortages. The premise seems to be, for unexplained reasons, water is scarce and precious. Yet, there seems to be water everywhere. Ponds, lakes, streams, springs, rivers, the mighty Mississippi, the wide Missouri, and dowsing works great. As they walk from Ohio to California they find more water every few hours. The only reason they become thirsty seems to be they leave the water, spill their water, or have such small bottles they can’t make it to the next spring (yet they do anyways). Indeed they find enough water for themselves and their troop of horses. When it rains the people put out buckets or bottles, which don’t gather much and sometimes fall over. Somehow I would make a funnel or tarp rain catcher or at least secure my bottle from falling over. The only way to carry water seems to be in small plastic bottles. I kept thinking, the point of the story must be Darwin is going to take these protagonists out for the good of the species. Yet finally they wander into the desert (seems like a good idea), and the dystopian water shortage becomes truly ridiculous, with ridiculous water conservation techniques. Then they get to California and the dystopia magically vanishes.
I did not care much for the narration. I found the voice clear, but both breathy and grating, and the male characterization weak.
I only kept listening to this book because someone I respected said I would really like this book. I wondered what I had done to this person to deserve this awful recommendation. While writing this review I came to realize they were recommending “A Handful of Dust” which I will now add to my list.
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