Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre - Max Brooks

 Summary: The #1 bestselling author of World War Z takes on the Bigfoot legend with a tale that blurs the lines between human and beast--and asks what we are capable of in the face of the unimaginable.

As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier's eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.

But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town's bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing--and too earth-shattering in its implications--to be forgotten.

In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate's extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.

Kate's is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity's defiance in the face of a terrible predator's gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.

Yet it is also far more than that.

Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us--and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.

Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it--and like none you've ever read before. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: A friend tipped me off that the way to read a Max Brooks book is to listen to it. So, despite all the things I’ve been saying to everyone all these years about how I don’t really listen to audio books, I listened to this as an audio book. Who am I even? I really enjoyed it, too, and I just recently reviewed Shadow Divers, which was also an audio book, so I’m basically questioning all my beliefs at this point. I’ve settled in to deciding that I can like both audio books and reading traditionally. Whew. It’s been soul-stretching. And also, I’m behind on some of my podcasts.

I purposely crammed this review into an October reviewing slot because I think Halloween and the Halloween season (which for me is several months long) deserves its own set of books to read. This one is not about ghosts or haunted houses, but a swarm of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) terrorizing an isolated yuppie village is kind of Halloween-esque, right? If you’re into cryptids for Halloween, you should check this out. Maybe you should even listen to it! (Who AM I even!?)

I really enjoyed this audio book. I appreciated hearing the different voices, and the [minimal] sound effects. It really made for an immersive experience. Also, sometimes I like to be creeped out by things I listen to, especially when it’s crispy and autumn-y outside. There’s nothing like walking around in your house doing chores and being creeped out in a this-is-not-real-and-therefore-it’s awesome-way. It’s delightful!

I’ve read some feedback about this book that it’s slow. Perhaps if one were reading it it would feel that way. There is a lot of build-up and some minor points of action before the actual dramatic apex, but listening to it gave a creeping sense of foreboding that I enjoyed. Because it is written in journal style, with different entries from different people, I feel like this book really lent itself to being listened to (thanks for the rec, friend!) in that the action was well-paced and the descriptions vivid enough that it felt like we were RIGHTTHERE. Also, there is a certain amount of smugness that came from this isolated yuppie community, and Brooks has made it very easy to alternatively feel sorry for them and also feel like they got their comeuppance. There was a certain tongue in cheek way in which he described the people and the surroundings that let us in on the joke, but also made us empathize.

Did I feel like this was a realistic setting? Yeah, I guess I did. I’m always willing to suspend a little disbelief just because when you pick up a book about Bigfoot, it’s not like you’re not already maybe hoping or wanting to believe that it’s real enough to give you a little spine tingle. I do think that if there were to be an attack of Sasquatches, this scenario is as good as any (maybe better?).

If you’re into reading about Sasquatch, or post-apocalyptic stories that get a little supernatural, you should totally check this out. It was fast-paced and exciting. I enjoyed it a lot.

My Review: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is language, violence, and some mild discussion of sex. 

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