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An absolute must-read!

  • Feb 9, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
Amazing. Absolutely amazing, engrossing and thought provoking. These are words that quickly and simply come to mind when I think of The Things That Keep Us Here. It, quite frankly, blows my mind that this is a debut novel by Carla Buckley. It is incredibly well written, tight, emotional, well-researched and so true-to-life (or what could easily happen in life, right now) that I would expect such work to be written by a veteran author. No, The Things That Keep Us Here is not a laid back, fun, kick-off-your-shoes and read your cares away sort of book. Rather, it is a very intense, serious book who's topic is filled with the "what-ifs" of the future of our world, in the aspect of possible pandemics and how such matters would be handled. That's not to say that The Things That Keep Us Here is not a book to leisurely enjoy, just keep in mind that you will not be brought to tears with laughter or light-hearted banter.

I knew from the beginning of this book, that is was going to be a story to absorb me within its pages and the lives of the characters within. Just to simply gaze upon the beautiful innocence of the cover grips the heart, then to become part of this little girl and her family's story and life within, is mind-blowing. Written in a heart-wrenchingly realistic way, readers will feel themselves captured within the struggles of the Brooks' family, as they fight to survive a horrific pandemic caused by H5N1, the avian flu. No where is safe, no one can be trusted. Locked and sealed away within the walls of their home, no electricity, no heat but the fireplace, food rations becoming increasingly low, the threat of a simple sneeze a death sentence. The Things That Keep Us Here is a story of a mother's love for her children and the lengths that she will go to to protect them and keep them from harm's way.

Separated for a year, Ann Brooks and her estranged husband, Peter, are brought together by the onset of H5N1. Peter, a university researcher has been conducting tests on the resent increase in dying birds. Realization quickly dawns that this is a deadly situation that will affect the world. Alerting Ann and the children of what is to come, their lives are once again bound together, as they struggle to keep their children and themselves safe and healthy. As neighbors, best friends, adults and children lose their fight for their lives around them, Ann and Peter remain vigilant, something not easy under the circumstances and with two young daughters and the sudden arrival of a six-month baby boy. They know they must stay strong or face the end.

The Things That Keep Us Here is a story that will tightly hold the reader from first page until the last. Just when you think the end would be near, a new twist occurs sending more pages flying to find out the results. I truly enjoyed the characters of Peter and Ann, though I have to admit there where a few times I would have liked to smack Ann upside the head. However, as a mother, myself, one can never tell exactly how one would react, if in the same circumstances. I highly admired Peter and his perseverance to his family. The dialog and characterization within The Things That Keep Us Here were excellently executed and the horrifying fact that life, as we know it, could change at any moment, is eye-opening.

I highly recommend The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley to everyone. This is not a genre based novel, but a life based novel. It is intense, engrossing and I promise that you will never look at life the same way again. I cannot wait to read more by this wonderfully talented author and can honestly say that this is one of my favorite books of 2010!

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More The Things That Keep Us Here reviews
review by . October 24, 2010
This novel has it all: page-turning suspense, great characters, a strong plot and themes that stick with you long after the final page. I found it hard to believe that this is Carla Buckley's first novel.      The highlights of the plot have been well described elsewhere, so I will only say that this book is so well written that it is easy to imagine oneself in a similar predicament. In fact, there were actually points in the plot line where I felt my heart pounding as I …
review by . June 13, 2010
Carla Buckley has created a chilling story of domestic horror with her debut novel. The scenario is all too believable and topical - global pandemic of avian flu, and a family's struggles to remain in isolation, deal with food shortages and power outages in the midst of lingering grief and family relationship breakdowns.    The strength of this novel is that it is so believable. The mother deals with the petty frustrations of her house bound children as they cope with what is …
review by . October 11, 2010
Simply Wonderful!
This novel has it all: page-turning suspense, great characters, a strong plot and themes that stick with you long after the final page. I found it hard to believe that this is Carla Buckley's first novel.      The highlights of the plot have been well described elsewhere, so I will only say that this book is so well written that it is easy to imagine oneself in a similar predicament. In fact, there were actually points in the plot line where I felt my heart pounding as I …
review by . April 24, 2010
Wow. This was a terrific story (scary though considering that the H1N1 virus was so publicized this year). The premise is that an avian virus, H5N1, shows up and starts spreading extraordinarily fast with an almost 50% fatality rate. People go from getting some groceries for a short stay at home to realizing that even their neighbors can be a threat to their family's health.     Everyone closes themselves in and goes into survival mode as much of our country's infrastructure …
review by . March 13, 2010
It took me a little bit of time to gather my senses after I'd turned the last pages of this book tonight. I sat silently, halfway between tears and sheer wonderment. I wanted just a few more minutes to soak in this amazing story and how it made me feel. When I sat down earlier this evening to read, I was in the last half of the book but nowhere near the end; when my usual hour of reading came to an end, I found that couldn't bear to put the book down. The next hour came and went, and still I couldn't …
review by . February 17, 2010
Considering all the media time devoted during the last year to the possibility, if not probability, of H1N1 or bird flu pandemics, it is surprising that so few novels have yet been written about the societal breakdown that might accompany either event. Catastrophe of that magnitude offers fertile ground to those writing in several genres: horror, science fiction, romance, literary novel, etc. - so it is only a matter of time, I suspect, before such novels appear in large numbers. "The Things That …
About the reviewer
April Schiff Pohren ()
Ranked #544
I'm a mom of 2 very energetic children - an 8 yr. old daughter and 4 yr old son. I am also an avid reader and book blogger. My love of books and writing have allowed to to branch out to help in author/book … more
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Amazon Exclusive: Carla Buckley on The Things That Keep Us Here

The old black and white photographs are haunting.

Rows upon rows of bleak white cots spreading out to the horizon, filled with soldiers suffering not from war injuries, but the effects of a terrible new disease which mankind had never seen before. Many of these young men would die, their lungs swelling with fluid until they choked to death. Back in their hometowns, their family members waged the same helpless battle. Doctors could only treat the symptoms and hope they themselves didn’t fall victim. Governments rushed to impose some sort of order, but only those cities that completely closed their borders suffered fewer casualties. In all, there were three waves of illness, spanning three years and reaching into every corner of the world, and when it had subsided, twenty percent of the world population was gone. The very young and the old were spared; an entire generation had been wiped away with one sweeping blow. The culprit? The flu.

Almost a hundred years have passed since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. But despite tremendous medical advances, and our increased understanding of what a virus is and how it spreads, people are almost as vulnerable today as they were back then. Perhaps even more so, given air travel and how small the world has become. There is no cure. We can see the monster, but we can’t stop it.

In 2006, having just moved to a new hometown with my young children, I was...

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Tags

Books, Cafe Libri, Fiction, Children, Family, Plague, Pandemic, Avian Influenza, First Novel, Epidemic, Bird Flu

Details

ISBN-10: 0440245095
ISBN-13: 978-0440245094
Author: Carla Buckley
Publisher: Delacorte Press

First to Review

"An absolute must-read!"
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