As I said in a previous blog post, I’m kicking myself for not having spent more learning about Emcomm, and have gotten some books to help me learn. Again I’m starting small and simple, at the personal level and moving up to larger.
The second book I read, was also by Andrew Baze. This one is called The Road Home. This is a teen / young adult novel on the basics of prepping, with a heavy focus on Ham Radio. While I agreed with some of the stuff covered, I didn’t agree with all of the ways the characters were portrayed.
What really made this book was the end-notes. As the book says at the start, it isn’t normal for a fiction adventure book to have end-notes, but this one did. Though some of the end-notes covered things that I thought were overly basic. Like how zip ties are the second greatest thing in a tool box next to ducktape.
Short summary, a father and son go hiking and camping in the mountains. An earthquake hits around lunch time. Meanwhile their counter parts the mother and daughter of the family are at home because the daughter is too young for the trip. There is also a burglar on parole, wandering the streets on his day off from work.
Yes, you can see exactly how that plays out.
Up to the point where things needed to be done in the house, I felt the mother was little more than window dressing. Even then she struck me as someone going through motions. Not because she was numb because of the events, but because the author needed a talking head to illustrate his point. Even at the end, I thought the character was too reliant upon someone else coming to save her.
I don’t think the burglar character needed to be included at all. The entire motivational drive was to have someone who thought he was still 20, while being older. At least that was the feeling I got from him. He wanted nice things, but didn’t want to work for them. He came from the foster system, which made it feel like the author was overly influenced by personal bias.
The main character was Robbie, the teenage boy. He wanted to be too cool for stuff, but then wanted to play protector by the end.
Ultimately, it felt like a badly written prepper book, with a mindset that women need men to protect them, even if that “man” is a 14 year old boy. Where if someone came from a broken home, they’d get bounced between different states’ foster systems and have no choice to be a criminal, and that society will collapse quick if things break.
Everything from New Orleans after Katrina to Puerto Rico post Maria has shown people will work together. Yes their will be looting, their will be high stress situations. There will be people not knowing what to do, or not having a plan. But that doesn’t mean it all falls apart. In fact the book encourages people to not help. There are several instances where where the book says to help, but shows the characters doing the exact opposite.
- The mother, claiming to have gone through CERT training, at one point takes the daughter outside to check on neighbors. Ine of the end-notes even says that people need to build communities, because you don’t know who will be able to help you if things go bad. But she only checks on one person before returning home and not going out to check on people again.
- The burglar walks past houses that have people trapped in them. He ignores someone trying to rescue people ask him to help. He even used checking for survivors as a pretense to rob a house.
- At one point the father and son drive past a CERT team trying to help people stuck in a house. Instead of offering more help, since it came out that the dad was also CERT trained, the dad says someone else is already taking care of it and drive on.
For something that says community matters, they didn’t show much community spirit or involvement from any of the characters.
The 50+ (51) preparedness tips (ie the end-notes) were more interesting to read than the story. Sometimes, where the end-notes was in the story didn’t quite make sense, or broke the limited flow of the story where they were included. There were points where I found myself reading just the end-note, and not caring where I left off in the story. The 50+ section is the only reason to get this book in my opinion.