Monday, July 4, 2016

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick

The Big DarkMy name is Charlie. Are you terrified about that huge burst of light on New Year's Eve that knocked out all the electricity in the world? Hopefully, our firewood, water, and food will last until winter ends, but the big problem in our small New Hampshire town is much worse. Webster Bragg is a crazy hater, and no one in our town is safe. With everybody hurting for food and medicine, he even burned down the only store in these parts! Now, my mom's health is getting worse, and her medicine will run out soon. I know it's the middle of winter with sub-freezing temperatures and six feet of snow on the ground, but I've got to try to ski the thirty-five miles to find help. I don't know what I'll find in the next town over, and I only hope our town survives Mr. Bragg while I'm gone.

I usually like more action and adventure in my plots, and I wanted more development of the conflict with Bragg. His was certainly a problem, but he kind of came and went, until later in the plot. I wanted to feel more tension from him. He was a bigoted man with some disturbing ideas, so be prepared for that when reading the book. The volunteer policeman, who was also the school janitor, was an admirable character. He stood up for the townspeople, not always successfully, even though their support for him wavered. He showed remarkable bravery during the story's climax. Charlie witnessed the good and bad in people during his trip to find medicine for his mom, but the emotions were understandable. Bragg was intelligent, but nuts. This book provides an interesting look at people's fears and the resulting consequences when our society's rules fail to control them.

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