The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker, book review by Hannah White

Book Review from Goodreads.com :

Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food.

Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ – rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus.

While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

 

            “1,143 days since I’d smelled the sea, heard the splash of waves. 1,141 days since I’d had candy, even longer since I’d tasted the smoky sweetness of a s’more. Too long. 1,640,160 minutes since I’d run, since wind had tousled my hair, since I’d seen another person apart from my family.” Counting time was the only thing she could do. Sherry had spent 1,141 days in a bunker, hiding from what government had called rabies, until they ran out of supplies. In Susanne Winnacker’s intense The Other Life, Sherry has to grow up quicker than she ever imagined. These Weepers kept me second guessing with their timing and pacing, conflict, and actions.
            “Dad leaned on the door frame. “You’re grounded for another week, young lady.”” I really enjoyed the timing and pacing, because at the beginning of every chapter, there would be a flashback of a time that she hadn’t been in the bunker; a time that was good or sometimes bad. Times that she missed. I could definitely feel how much she missed her best friend, and how she missed everything that she no longer had the advantage to experience. In the beginning of the story, she’d counted the days out of the time that they had spent in the bunker that her parents had argued. She counted the days for everything, even whenever she had finally eaten an apple, 1,123 days. I mostly enjoyed the fact that she had kept up with the days that she’d gone without things, and exactly whenever she’d tell us how many days. She didn’t think much about the things she’d gone without until she had a chance to experience them again. Sherry forgot the things she was privleged to do.
            There was lots of conflict in the story as a whole, but the climax had the most conflict in my eyes. Everyone had been keeping their secrets to themselves, because they were afraid that the others would look at them differently or start to hate them because of the things that they knew. Throughout the story, they had been convinced that the whole world was infected with rabies, that the military and everyone else but the people still hidden were gone, and they even believed that there weren’t many people in bunkers. The climax was seeing the helicopter fly overtop of them, knowing that they seen the signs for help they gave, and flew on. Tyler was known for not speaking, and they didn’t even know his name, they just assumed it was Tyler because he had it as a tattoo. Everybody had already told their stories, and the second the helicopter flew over without stopping, Tyler shared his. Turns out, the area three states in the USA was off limits; danger zones. The world was continuing to live, while three states were frozen with a virus that they didn’t even ask for. It was a twist in the story that really caught me off guard, and I never expected a thing.
            Last but not least, the actions were also a big part of the reason why I really enjoyed the Other Life. I’m not one to read action novels, and I won’t lie, the only reason I chose this book was because I needed to read a different genre that was on my list for class, and this one just so happened to be about zombies. There honestly wasn’t that much action in this story, it was more of the suspense that foreshadowed. What little bit of action there was, made me want to keep reading even whenever it was 3am on a school night. Whenever Sherry and Joshua went into a Weeper’s nest looking for Sherry’s father, that’s whenever I realized that this book was very detailed and suspenseful, and that’s what kept me reading. Susanne had described everything that happened, and it made me feel like I was there. I remember while reading, Sherry and Joshua had three survivors from the nest, and I was so into it that my aunt had come in there and asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I jumped out of my bed. That’s what good books are all about, whenever there’s so much action and detail that you feel as if you’re there.
            I really hated that this book had to end so fast, because it was 254 pages that I’d read over and over again if I didn’t have other books I needed to read. I’d definitely recommend this book to anybody who’s interested in the Walking Dead, zombies, or action in general for that matter. Susanne Winnacker has won me over with her timing and pacing, conflict, and actions, and I really hope she doesn’t let me down when reading her other novels, because that’s something I’ll definitely be looking for.

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2 responses

  1. Good job of adding quotes into your piece, it showed that you have an understanding of the book and are a good source of information. I like your honesty in your third body paragraph. Some people may not like that you say you did not want to read this book/genre, but as a reader it lets me know I can trust you, that you aren’t trying to sale me something you did not have to buy yourself first. I feel like in writing honesty is always the best policy most readers can tell if a writer believes what they are saying or just taking up space, so good job. Your ending is a little short and seemed rushed compared to the rest of your well thought out paragraphs. Sometimes conclusions are hard for me too, it takes me a couple drafts to get them right.

    1. You’re the first person to have mentioned that to me, so I’ll be sure to look into my conclusions. It’s hard for me to come off of such a strong paragraph with a conclusions. I feel as if I didn’t make it sound like an end or as if I left it hanging.
      Thank you, though! I’ve had a few people tell me that honesty is the best policy when it comes to writing, so when reviewing I try my best to keep that in mind.

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