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Book Review: 77 Days in September

January 9, 2012

Book Reviews

traveling with a cart

I tend towards insomnia despite my fatigue at the end of the day.  Most often I try to use the time to either get some blog posts written or to read.  I always start my reading with my Bible since that is still the most valuable book I own.  After I have finished my “quiet time,” I often turn to whatever my newest prepping interest is (lately essential oils and soap-making) or whatever survivalist fiction catches my attention.

I feel that reading this category of fiction writing is generally helpful to me because it often spurs my thinking about something we may not yet have fully prepared for.  That could be an item we should consider buying or a skill set we should acquire.  Often some of the most valuable insight I get is about how I may have to handle a situation or the people that turn up during times of trouble.

The latest book I’ve read is called 77 Days in September by Ray Gorham.  It chronicles the stuggles that the Tait family endures after terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb high in the atmosphere.  The EMP silently destroys nearly every electronic device in the continental U.S.

Kyle has been poised to return to his family in Montana from a business trip in Texas when the bomb goes off.  His family has no idea if he is alive.  This story is novel in that while  it presents the hardships the family has to get through at home, one of the main characters must travel over a thousand miles to get back to his family as winter approaches.

Kyle is employed by a power company, so he has a better idea than the average person what has happened when everything with electronic components simultaneously dies.  His knowledge is only of limited usefulness since he can fix nothing, though.

Jennifer is at home with her 3 children when the terrorist attack takes place.  It’s been a hard 2 weeks without Kyle while he was away on business, but the possibility of having to weather all the uncertain future without her husband is very scary for her.

The Tait’s neighborhood tries to come together for the benefit of everyone, but disagreements and personality conflicts are inevitable.  They quickly realize that the better prepared are not very motivated to “work together” while those who have lived comfortably with no thought for tomorrow contemplate ganging up and taking from the prepared what they feel they need for the “common good.”  A scary, plausible, and probably very realistic notion.  (This is an argument for living in a low-density population and keeping a low profile in my mind).

While most people in the neighborhood are basically good folks trying to get by, just like in real life some people have ulterior motives or evil streaks within them.  Both Kyle and Jennifer encounter these people and at times, their lives are in jeopardy.  In a lawless world or one with corrupt or abusive leadership, the violent become emboldened.  Basic survival can come down to constant situational awareness and preparedness, especially with a weapon.

I think Mr. Gorham did a good job with his characters.  They are people you can relate to- very human.   Both Kyle and his wife Jennifer are morally upright people.  They tend to see the best in others and want to do what is right.  Still, they have their own or their family’s well-being to consider.  Trusting others is a gamble.  As Kyle presses on hauling a homemade wagon to carry his supplies, he must often choose whether to put aside his goals to help others or to continue on come what may.

I really enjoyed this story and I would recommend this as one of the best in the survivalist/post-apocalyptic fiction.  A sequel would be great though the epilogue did not suggest one.  I would like to see how the author envisions the family surviving the winter and how society moves forward to rebuild.

If you’ve read 77 Days in September, what did you think?  How would you rate it?

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14 Comments on “Book Review: 77 Days in September”

  1. Stan Morris Says:

    Nice review and a book that I will buy as soon as I get an ereader. Wish it was in paper

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Stan,

      I can understand your frustration. I have noticed several books lately that are in ereader form only. My Kindle was a gift from my gadget-loving husband a while back and I doubt I would ever have bought one (or asked for one myself), but I certainly enjoy it. We live out in the country and our county library has almost nothing. For a long time, I tried the frustrating inter-library loan system, but it took months to get my requests if they came at all and I rarely got notice either way.

      For reference type books, I will always buy print copies, but things I will probably only read once, I don’t mind having in e-format only. They are very reasonably priced (and sometimes free!) for the most part too.

      I suspect one of the reasons that some authors start out in e-format is because it is hard to get a publisher to print a book for what they think is such a tiny market. Beyond that, we know from personal experience that the returns are minimal. Joe has written or co-authored several books in his professional field and it’s not unheard of for authors to get only 2 percent of the purchase price. That seems ridiculous to me. A book represents a lot of time as well as personal creative process yet the author is nearly cut out of the profits.

      I am currently (finally) writing a novel that has been rattling around in my brain for a few years. I imagine that if/when the time comes, we will probably also start out in e-format and see how it goes before sinking money in self-publishing print copies. It’s taken me a while to even justify to myself spending time writing it when there may be very minimal return and it will come at the expense of sleep or getting other needed things done. This blog is pretty time-consuming, but we see it as a ministry to help others get prepared. It’s essentially a non-fiction reference. A fictional novel is different though. We’ll see if I ever get it finished…

      Hope you enjoy 77 Days.

      Reply

  2. Beck Says:

    Just ordered it to be delivered to my Kindle. Thanks for recommending it to me.

    Reply

  3. Beck Says:

    I finished it last night. Very good book and I agree with your comments about the book. Really makes me think about how I would get home should and EMP situation occur and I’m not at home. I think I would be in fair shape if I were to be at home BUT….
    I do have some supplies in my vehicle but need to add a back pack to the mix.

    Thanks for recommending it.

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Good point about the backpack. We keep a couple in our vehicles along with some cloth grocery bags to allow us to take our first aid kit, food, etc along without having our hands too full.

      That reminds me… time to rotate out the unopened peanut butter jars we keep in our kits. They’ve been in there a while and they probably are less than premium quality at this point. The pig will still enjoy it mixed in his food though.

      Reply

  4. Ray Gorham Says:

    I was recently made aware of your post and would like to thank you for the kind words you wrote in regards to my book. When writing the story I hoped to tell a good tale, but I also wanted to spur people to consider becoming more prepared, as many things can occur that will disrupt our current way of life, and at some point one or more of those events is bound to happen. Seeing it picked up on your site is encouraging to say the least.

    So far the book has done quite well, but I still haven’t been able to find a publisher. In an attempt to bring the word count in at an acceptable total I had to thin down parts of the story and provide less detail than I would have liked. I’m working on a new book now, but when time permits I do plan on coming back and finishing Kyle and Jennifer’s story, in one or possibly two more books (I have the story outlined, and lots of things can happen in a Post-EMP world).

    Thanks again for your positive review.

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      It is my pleasure to bring it to the attention of the some of the folks who would be most interested- it is a very worthy book. I hope you see an uptick in sales now.

      I appreciate your writing style as well as your plot line. It is nice to find a story that is tempered in its sexual content and violence/gore. I have a hard time whole-heartedly recommending ones that would come with a heavy R rating on television, even if some would argue that is “real life.”

      I hope you do go ahead and write your next novels. I, for one, will buy them and I would be glad to review them here. I would still like to finish my own novel but time is scarce and children and chores are plentiful. We’ll see.

      In the meantime, we will do our best to try and help people prepare for all the various possible disruptions to our present comfortable lives through our blog. If you see some topics we are neglecting, please let me know.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Out of curiosity, how did you find out about about the review? I intended to go back into my e-book and look for an email address so I could let you know about it, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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