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April 24, 2020

Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O'Connell ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I accept ARCs sometimes months before they are due to publish. Notes from an Apocalypse is one of those books. Since I'm part of a post-apocalyptic book club I thought a nonfiction book might be an interesting read. The irony of reading it during a pandemic is not lost on me.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

April 2020; Doubleday; 978-0385543002
audio, ebook, print (272 pages); nonfiction 
When I saw that Notes from an Apocalypse was next up on my reading list of ARCs, I thought about passing on it. I mean, we are living a kind of apocalypse right now, did I really need to read about someone else's personal journey? In end, I decided to read it because I hate not reading the ARCs I request.

While there is mention that the end of the world may come about by an illness, the main focus of the "apocalypse" for O'Connell is the slow death we are inflicting on the planet through materialism, climate change, and global extinction. The book is about his obsession with the destruction of the world.

I will admit I wasn't as enthusiastic about this book when I started reading it as I was when I requested it. And the opening chapters had what little interest I had waning. The tone of the opening chapters as he explored the prepper culture and "end of the world" retreats of the wealthy felt judgemental. It seemed that any ideology that was different than his own was bad or wrong. O'Connell even resorted to name-calling at one point ("nose-picking libertarians"). He is a self-proclaimed socialist and it felt to me that he thought capitalism is evil.

Another off-putting element was his views on America. It is one thing for me or other Americans to criticize the country, but it felt wrong for someone from another country (O'Connell is Irish) to criticize it.

When he moved more to the more personal aspects of his journey - his trip to the Scottish Highlands to commune with nature, reading The Lorax with his son, etc - the book picked up a bit for me.

Though the book deals with an apocalyptic crisis resulting from environmental degradation, his ending words could provide solace and hope to individuals living during the apocalyptic crisis caused by the current pandemic.

Buy Notes from an Apocalypse at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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