The Girl In Red

by - July 31, 2019

The Girl in Red

The Girl In Red came highly recommended to me and after finishing it I can see why. Such a powerful story packed into less than three hundred pages. I found this compulsively readable and devoured it in just a few sittings. It tells the tale of Red, the only survivor of her family after a Crisis has decimated the population and made the world a post apocalyptic nightmare. I of course am a fan of such stories, but looking at this book I would not have guessed it to be a post apocalyptic tale, so I'm glad several people told me to read this.

Red is alone and on her way to grandmother's house- and that's about all we get from a Little Red Riding Hood reimagining. The wicked wolf of course could be any number of things- the pandemic Cough that has claimed so many lives, the bands of lawless men ravaging the countryside, the military that is determined to round people up and send them to quarantine camps. Red has no intention of going to a camp, and I love how she questioned the wisdom of keeping an illness at bay by jamming people together. Funny that not more people questioned it. But, is it possible that there are other reasons for the military's actions? 

Red is also disabled- she has a prosthetic leg- but she doesn't consider herself disabled at all, and in fact is quite capable for her young age. She lost her family at the outset of her quest to get to get where she's going, and she's not going to let anyone stop her. I've read reviews where some people loved Red, and some people didn't care for her- for me, I thought she was intensely likable, and I could relate to her mindset about being prepared. She readily admits that her survival skills, such as they are, are mainly culled from the books and movies she's consumed, and who can't relate to being disgusted with characters who do all the wrong things in an apocalypse? Such as Never Split Up- why on earth would you ever do that? Red would like to know that too, and I smiled at all the times she recounted her informal rules of survival (in capital letters).  

The truth is Red is no superhero, she's just a twenty year old girl trying to make it though a savage land where the rules have all gone away. I really like how Henry makes us think about all the things we take for granted- the background hum of electricity that we only miss when the power goes out, or the noise of cars on a nearby street or the airplanes overhead. No Internet, no broadcasts... everything stops. And without civilization to keep people in check, society soon breaks down. It's a terrifying thought, and I thought Henry did a great job of bringing it to life. 

There's a touch of science fiction/ horror that also appears, and I loved it personally. This was such a fast paced read for me- it's divided between before and after her current situation, where she's on the road after having recently lot her brother. As the book progressed I got a little worried that there wasn't going to be enough time to resolve everything- there seemed to be too many questions I had and the pages were dwindling- but the author pulled it out and all my questions were answered just in time. Well done, and I loved the ending. 

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