Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Following the trend so easy to see for all of us who lived through the early 1990's, this book takes everything we experienced and amped it up to a fever pitch.
Womack takes all the increasing poverty, the general decline across the board, the massive riots, unrest and all the various drugs making it into every home (including prescription abuse), and tops it with violence on a very scary and down-to-earth scale.
It works so well here in this novel. The gentle diary of a 12-year-old girl in a money-troubled middle-class house slides step by step into chaos. It's so easy to get lost in her everyday concerns, but just like the proverbial frog in the stovepot, it's a cinch to get boiled in the end. :)
From being hounded by true asshole collectors, to moving to a rougher neighborhood, to being ostracized by her old friends, to getting involved in street gangs, this is one hell of a frightening tale. It's just normal life. Twisted inexorably to a dark fate.
And this isn't some novel about one single example. The whole world is going to shit. The riots continue much farther than what we saw. Presidents were mauled by angry mobs. Poverty is rampant everywhere.
The slide is not so quick that people don't TRY to hold it all together. But the slide happens despite everything and this made the book one hell of a horrific read. There's no way out. Anywhere.
Goodbye, normalcy. This SF is a supremely understated sociological SF that instead relies on great characters with great personalities driven into ever-increasing bad circumstances. As an idea novel, it's pretty damn brilliant, but as a dark realistic horror, it's even better.
Very worth the read. Scary.
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