The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
What I drank prior:
Mostly wine… yeah mostly wine. It’s been a while since I’ve managed one of these nights. I’ve been almost too busy to read so I’m kind of short on things worth reviewing, but considering how much poor Parker and Sam had to listen to me talk about this book, I figured it would be worth a review.
Okay, so… this book made an impression. Okay, our main character goes on a survivor-esque show. They compete in a variety of different things and without anyone on the show knowing the apocalypse happens. She gets a little bit sick but carries on assuming that everything she’s doing is part of the show. It is very much NOT part of the show, she manages to save her sanity when seeing a bunch of corpses by thinking “wow the budget of this show is apparently more impressive than I thought” and whew is it kind of hard to read. The book skips between her in the present day, and the early days of the show. Our main character, known as Zoo on the show, and Sam in real life, is surviving as best she can.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: This book packed a serious fucking punch. There’s so much going on about our obsession with the persona that ones puts out on all forms of media; social or tv, versus the real person. The main character, Sam, is a fully realized person, but she, like many others on the show, recognize the part they are expected to play and the act to fit that. The fact that the apocalypse happens just makes it a little harder to swallow. The distance that our main character was willing to go in order to convince herself that the world wasn’t reality was impressive and a little bit scary.
Characters: The beautiful thing about this book is the way it played with archetypes. In the sections of the book that deal with the reality tv show, the book does a beautiful job of explaining the caricatures that reality tv expects versus who the people actually were. While Sam/Zoo is really the only character we spend any amount of time with, there is a full enough picture of all the other characters that you get a good sense of who they were versus who they wanted to look like.
Plot: Like I said, the book is broken into two general sections and goes back and forth in time between Sam surviving thinking she’s in the game, and her persona “Zoo” on this reality tv show. The reality tv shows who the other characters on and try to show why she would continue to believe that the post-apocalyptic world was part of the tv show. The part covering the post-apocalyptic world was hard, because as a reader you know whats going on, and see how hard she’s working to keep believing it. But she has her goal in mind and manages to overcome a number of things in order to keep on moving. I don’t want to give too much away so I’m going to end this section here.
Writing Style: I don’t know why I keep saying this but this is not a thing I typically pay too much attention to. This wasn’t a flowery book (thank god – that’s not what I tend to go for) but it seemed well written to me…
Spoilered Review: If you haven’t read the book and want to read this book, please skip the rest of this paragraph.
Ooof so as she’s going, she ends up running into this kid and convinces herself that he’s part of the show. So she treats this kid like shit while she tries to accomplish her goal of going home. The problem is that the kid is probably 13 and her husband isn’t there. They make it to her home, which is a hella long distance away from where the show was based. And once she gets there, she doesn’t have the strength to look in the bedroom where she thinks her husbands body is (which is fair) but she also doesn’t let the kid who is with her tell her anything. So of course her husband is still fucking alive becuase it was a dead dog in the bed… but… endlessly frustrating lack of communication aside, they manage to get to someplace safe, and Sam being a good fucking person basically adopts this orphaned child. And her husband sees her on tv and th book ends. I’m still angry about the fact that we dont’ get to see a reunion between Sam and her husband, but it was still a good book.
What to pair it with: Moonshine. I have a friend who went to Tech and he would bring back Moonshine during every school break. I would say peach moonshine if only because this book packs a punch but is surprisingly sweet at times.
Rating: 4.5/5 Shots
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: This book was, I’m not sure I can call it fun, but I’ve thought about it a lot since I read it. Let me know what you think.