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Old 09-18-2018, 09:47 PM
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Default Disaster in the 'burbs, by Jerry D. Young: Audiobook review.

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So here we are again.

Another JDY book showed up in my audible new release column so I went ahead and picked it up.

At almost five hours long this is a full on Novella length story.

Right off the main character caught my interest. Darlene, a divorce prepper is a hardcore, practical prepper. Independent and strong she is a break from the usual prepper gal who usually starts out weak and naive and grows into a survivalist during the apocalypse.

No, Darlene knows what she is doing right from the start. Water tanks, wells, food stocks, CO2 absorbing curtains, she has it figured out. A divorce settlement wisely spent finances all her needs and she quickly becomes a prepper extraordinaire. Darlene takes no **** from anyone and doesn't look back.

The only real problem she is has is that she lives in a neighborhood with an HOA....and a "Jane"

The story starts off in the midst of a great depression style economic collapse of unspecified origin, followed by a civilization ending natural disaster.

These 1-2 punch apocalypses are my favorite because I think they are highly realistic, I really think that it won't be one event that takes it all down, it will be several, each one compounding on the other.

Darlene and a few of her neighbors survive. With help from Darlene the survivors begin rebuilding and learning how to live in their ravaged world. This is another 'best case scenario' apocalypse. 85% of the population dead, all their stuff left behind for salvage. This makes an enjoyable story if one that makes everything seem a little too easy compared to the worse case scenarios where everyone survives but all the 'stuff' runs out.

Unfortunately one of the survivors is "Jane"

Jane is the archetypical curtain peeking, jealous, power hungry, hypocritical evil neighbor. You see this character pop a lot in prepper fiction, and unfortunately, in real life. A lot of people know a 'Jane'. A lot of groups of various kinds end up run by Janes, and destroyed by them.

Oddly enough, a lot of these women actually are named "Jane" for some reason.

I hated Jane. And I mean really hated her. I hated her so much it made me want to go out and deal with the real world Jane's I know.

Jane is the reason I'm not interested in living in a community or including one in any of my preps. Jane is reason I have long range rifles and plan on blocking off roads a mile from my place. Jane is why I could never stand to live with neighbors. I hate Jane. I wanted to see her caught by a cannibal rape gang.

So, if you wanted to get an emotional reaction with your writing Mr. Young, mission accomplished. Jane got under my skin.

At one point in the story Jane, who of course becomes part of the local government, recommends that Darlenes preps be confiscated and redistributed to the 'community' and Darlene responds with something along the likes of "If you decided that, I am gone and I'm leaving nothing behind but a burnt out shell and salted earth'....I may have done a spontaneous fist pump when I got to that part. Darlene is a great character.

This also did the most important thing a prepping story can do, make you think about something new to prep for.

In this case it was the realization that a secondary bug out could be required months or years after the collapse to avoid the 'new' government that could form, particularly because post war/disaster governments tend towards hyper socialism more than anything else.

Be clear, I really liked this story. I hated the character Jane, but I did not hate her inclusion in the story....she was there to be hated. She was a great character, just one you hate.

I listened to it in one session, between about midnight and 5Am while working on my shop.

On the critical side, the story ended too quickly....or rather, didn't seem to have an ending. I would have liked to see Jane fed slowly into a wood chipper an inch at a time, or for the socialist council to turn against Darlene and for her to have to bug out in the middle of winter, leaving her home behind as a flaming ruin and having to start over in a mountain cabin, or something.

But that is a sign of how much I liked this story, I saw the potential for a lot more to happen in this storyline and wanted see it play out.

Once again, the story was tech and terminology heavy, nothing a prepper wouldn't understand but once again there is no visual description given for many of the items and skills preformed, a non prepper would miss a lot of the details.

It would be like me writing a fantasy story about a Vassal in a gambeson armed with a falchion going up against a bastile house equipped with a mangonel

A person who read a lot of medieval fiction and who was interested in the period would know exactly what I was talking about, everyone else would have to either stop and look up the terms or just skip through them without having any kind of mental picture for the movie in their head that is created when you read a book.

The audio quality was good, better than "neighbors" in that regard, no sound of trucks driving by in the background or turning pages. The reader had an accent that I always call a 'walsher'....as in, they don't use a flashlight when they take out garbage and wash their hands afterwards. They use a fleshlight to take out the gerbage and then walsh their hands afterwards. Not really a problem but kind of amusing. Unfortunately the speaker also reads in sort of a slow sing-song and pronounces some words with extra syllables as if they have never heard them before and they are transcribing some foreign language. I don't know how you make "internet" sound like it has four syllables but this reader pulls it off. Again, not really a problem and I got used to it, just an oddity.

As a marketing note, on audible the 'summary' is just the first paragraph of the book which really doesn't tell a prospective buyer anything about the story. I'm glad I bought this book but if I didn't recognize the name of the author I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
... Jane is the archetypical curtain peeking, jealous, power hungry, hypocritical evil neighbor... ..
..How the HELL does Jerry know my Ex??? Srsly, (part of..) why I moved to bloody El Salvador for nearly 5 yrs, so I could prevent myself from (literally..) strangling her.. Oh, man the Mouth on that ..and she KNEW she could 'get away with it', due to my deeply-ingrained 'a Real Man Never hits a woman out of anger or frustration'-module.. My 'Jane' knew Exactly how and what to push, arrgghh... Anyhoo..

..I was at least consoled knowing that, If she'd ever even attempted to come down to El Sal to 'confront me' (..about whatever-petty nit, ie: maybe to demand more CS than she was Already getting, cuz she didn't have as many shoes yet as Imelda Marcos, or Whatever.. she'd 99.9%-certainly not even make out alive from the Airport.. ..anyhoo, enough of That but, ya, I can relate..

Hmm, good timing on this.. Get to (literally..) drive across the US next week (4th time in 12 months, yep..) Here > our BOL to work for a day / so, across 80 > NY, down to (some ST, down S.. last Dec. it was Naples, FL, this year, it's been RI in May, then IL in July, so far.. Next week, it'll be MD..) then Back up to NY / drop off Tools / Gear, and drive Back across, home to Lost Angeles - all within 10 days, so.. Might be a good time for a (few..) audiobooks..

..I'll honk as we 'drive by'.. Thx for the preview / review..


PS - Currently - Happily - Married to more of a 'Darlene'.. not Quite as much the same character, but.. Very 'street smart', strong, industriously independent, yet we work Very Well together.. a True Partner.. ..and, since we're going on year 15 together, and show No signs of 'slowing down', with an Incredible Daughter, and my Sons both Love her, as-well, well.. I'd say I'm pretty-sure wasn't just 'being a snowflake'..
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:42 PM
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Aerindel Aerindel is offline
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..How the HELL does Jerry know my Ex???
Yeah, I think a lot of people know a "Jane" which makes her a very believable character.
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