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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

I Almost Forgot About You
Terry McMillan
Progress: 42 %
The Gates of the Alamo
Stephen Harrigan
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
Progress: 17 %
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 35 %

The Fireman ★★★☆☆

The Fireman: A Novel - Joe Hill

I can’t think of any way to review this without spoilers, so even though this will be a very brief review, I’m spoiler tagging this entire post. It’s also probably not very coherent, but here it is:



The Fireman offers an interesting take on the dystopian post-apocalyptic story. We see what happens when a society is so enamored with a charismatic leader that they surrender their individual liberties for the promise of safety. We see peer-pressure for conformity and intolerance for dissenting opinions carried to its inevitable conclusion.

We look at the mechanics of a developing mob mentality, understanding why and how a group of individuals surrenders themselves to the pleasure of becoming one with the group. How those ordinary people can be so secure in their righteousness that the end justifies the means, and how those means may start with small breaks in our moral code but may grow to terrible atrocities.


Unfortunately, the actual vehicle that carries these ideas is problematic. I found the romance awkward and implausible. The attempt to provide a semi-scientific explanation for the disease fell flat for me as it seemed contradictory to actual events in the story. There were also enormous plot holes and other contradictory events. I found it wholly implausible that a school nurse (disclosure: I’m an RN with 2 decades of experience) would have the knowledge and skills to provide the sort of field medicine that our heroine routinely engaged in. And finally, I found it wholly implausible that a group of intelligent and resourceful individuals would be so stupid as to take the “Martha Quinn Island” story at face value. In this day and age, only fools and the cognitively impaired would unreservedly believe something they found on the internet.

(show spoiler)



Audiobook version. Kate Mulgrew's performance was excellent. 


I read this for the 2016 Halloween Bingo square "Set in New England", as the story is set in New Hampshire and Maine.