Going Home: A Novel – Review

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I love reading books about post-apocalyptic situations, seeing how the author envisions everything going down and how people in the story cope during times of trials. When I was new to Prepping, I read several books for different perspectives and imagined myself in the same scenarios as the protagonists. I was the humble leader who quietly assumed the responsibility for protecting my family against a wide array of obstacles, threats and challenges. It is fiction, but with a dose of reality because in most of these books we have history to fall back on for a lot of the nastier things humans can do when confronted with a crisis. I read about an Economic Collapse in James Wesley Rawles’ book, Patriots and how Todd and Mary and their survival group had prepared for events like this with a fully stocked retreat. I lived through an EMP attack and the threat of biker gangs in William Forstchen’s One Second After and traveled cross country with Bishop in Joe Nobody’s Holding Their Own. Each one of these books catered to my desire to learn more about hypothetical scenarios and checked the box in the action column that kept everything interesting.

So when I was given the opportunity to review Going Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series) which just so happens to be right up in the same genre as some of those books that I really enjoyed, I was excited to see how another author treated the subject of an EMP attack that forces the author to walk back home to his family over 250 miles away. Most of the scenarios in all of the books I mentioned are similar in that there is some event that wipes out our nation from a standpoint of capacity not necessarily destruction. In the survivalist genre you usually have a collapse of our nation through something other than war or disease so that we are all stuck living through whatever the issue is, but there is no virus to blame or an invading country. The bad guys end up being your neighbors because we are largely unprepared to live without the conveniences we have become dependent on. When you take away power, our entire society crumbles pretty quickly or at least that is what everyone, including me believes will happen.

The premise of A. American’s Going Home, is an EMP event that wipes out the power nationwide. The book doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the how’s or why’s but you are led to believe the potential is that forces in our government are somehow involved. Morgan is our hero and you meet him as he is driving home from his job. When the EMP event happens, all the power is gone, electronics die and Morgan has to walk back home over 250 miles to his family. The setting is in Florida and since he is a prepper, Morgan has an insane Get Home Bag in his car. The book is Morgan’s journey back home and shows along the way how people are dealing with or struggling through the crisis.

What I liked

Was the character of Sarge modeled after this guy?
Was the character of Sarge modeled after this guy?

Like I said above I already like this genre, so the subject matter appealed to me because this is one of those things I think is very possible. If we do have an EMP attack and you are away from home, you have to get back there and you will face difficulty along the way. I wrote a post about this exact same subject a while back called “After an EMP Attack – How to Get Home When it’s 700 Miles Away” because just like Morgan in this book, I travel for work sometimes. If I was away from home, my first priority would be to get back to my family and I have envisioned some of the same situations that A. American (clever pseudonym by the way) writes about in this novel. He also has the beginnings of a back story that involves not so nice people in DHS and the whispers of a conspiracy. What is going on at the range?

The book has about three main characters through the majority of the story and I really like Thad and Sarge who I swear was modeled exactly off of R. Lee Ermey or at least every line he delivers in my head comes from this icon of military themed characters. There is a fourth character who begins the journey with Morgan and I think there will be a reappearance of her at some point.

What I didn’t like

I usually struggle with this section in reviews because I find it hard to critique someone for something I haven’t done but I guess we all do this every day. To tell an author that they have problems with their book is easy to do for someone who hasn’t written their own book (yet?) and hasn’t had to deal with the issues I am picking apart so I will try to be fair and honest.

Going Home: A Novel
Going Home: A Novel

One of the two things I can say kept coming back to me as I was reading this book are Morgan’s supplies. Morgan has done what every good prepper should do if they have a job that takes them away from home. Morgan has a Get Home Bag and pretty much anything you could imagine him needing is packed away in here. I think that he has more stuff than I normally take for camping but he doesn’t stop there. A couple of characters remark about how much he has, so I am sure the author is aware of the amount at some point, but I choose to accept that Morgan has a huge pack and he is a big muscular guy who can walk with a 60 pound pack over 250 miles with no issues after society has busted big time. Hey, I believe much more insane things all the time when I watch movies so why not?

The other aspect I missed was more of a back story. Going Home, is the first of at least three novels and I plan on reading the next two. He may get more into the details about Morgan’s history and the people behind the conspiracy in the next two which may negate this entirely, but I would have like to have a little more of Morgan’s back story. How did he get into Prepping and what motivated him to set his house up the way he did? This book was almost entirely about the journey with a lot of attention paid to routes and the normal tasks of eating and sleeping, hiding and route navigation. He does share a pretty fair amount of time talking about the specifics of his gear. I know you have to strike a balance and it almost feels like this was one huge story broken into three parts and even written all at once so maybe this will all play out as I go along.

The characters of Thad and Sarge have a lot of potential and the whole military conspiracy angle is ripe for content. Maybe that is forthcoming and I will find out shortly as I start the second book Surviving Home tonight. I did enjoy the book overall and am looking forward to what happens next with Morgan. If you like survival fiction, I think you will like Going Home from A American.

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18 Comments on "Going Home: A Novel – Review"

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prepmidwest
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I loved this book so much that I immediately ordered the other two and had them finished in mere days! Nice review. Enjoy Surviving Home!

Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you very much! I just started Surviving Home last night and I can already imagine how this is going to turn out. Pat (not me, the character in the book) sounds like someone I would want to slap pretty hard.

Pat

Northern Raider
Guest

None of the books mentioned come even close to superb American classics like ALAS BABYLON by Pat Frank, or EARTH ABIDES by George R Stewart. Other great US authors produced Day By Day Armageddon ( Zombies trilogy) and the Morningstar Saga ( more zombies)

Pat Henry
Guest

I really liked Alas Babylon Northern Raider; can’t believe I forgot to mention that one. I will have to check out Earth Abides. Thanks for the tip!

Pat

Rhinoceros
Guest

I second the recommendation of “Day By Day Armageddon”
And yes, during the Going Home novel, the author specifically states that the Sarge reminds him of Sgt. Ermey…anyone who knows military movies (FullMetal Jacket, anyone?) or his hatred of watermelons on his more recent cable shows, knows “Linus, the sarge” with just the mention of R. Lee Ermey

RoyG
Guest
When the A. American was writing the book he was allowing people on his forums to read sections, well mostly the whole book and when the book was published i got it anyways to support him and plus i wonted to reread it again… i liked that he did pay attention to the places and routes because im in that general part of South Fl and it brought home the reality or possability of having to get back home while on the road… the 2nd book does deal alot with the DHS and marshall law so im looking forward to… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you very much Roy,

Already reading the second one now and I like this one (so far) even more!

Pat

Gloria
Guest

William Sadler is my vision of Sarge from the first moment we meet Sarge. While Pat is a real pain in the behind, I find Mel and ‘the girls’ worse for continuing to disbelieve the reality starving and dying around them, and acting like princesses. When they moan about having to move into the convenience-less new bugout location, I really want to kick their butts.
Of course, I’ll keep buying the rest of the series.

Pat Henry
Guest

Thanks Gloria,

I have just read to the part where the Pat issue is resolved so I am happy. 🙂

Pat

HeatherTLC
Guest

Like you I put myself in the shoes of the main characters when reading this kind of book – it is not always a pretty picture, that’s for sure!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you very much Heather

Watchmanonwall
Guest
with a 60 lb pack and a guy who admits his 260 lbs is out of shape, he never once complained about his feet, legs, buttocks, back or anything. Nor did princess Lisa. Other than that, I enjoyed the story. It is funny what Floridians consider ‘cold’. I got the sense that it was part novel and part instruction manual. Hence the reason for all of the gear and how it was used and the coincidental meeting of people (good and bad) with just the right equipment and knowledge. Message: this is stuff and knowledge that you may want to… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you very much for your comments!

I just finished the second one last night and was really glad I did. The story continues and the second book is so much better in my opinion. I think the story flowed a little more quickly, there was a lot more action and the story was beefed up considerably. I did finally get a lot of my questions. Looking forward to starting the third one soon.

Pat

Jack Bower
Guest
I picked this up as an audio book. I didn’t enjoy the character Sarge as much as you did – I felt his constant pranks and insults were a little tiring and more of a facade than real characterization. The other thing that made me shrug and say “ooook” was how Thad and the girl (cant remember her name) joined him. I mean, if everyone is a potential enemy or drain on your resources why on earth would you decide to travel with “Fezzik” and “Princess Buttercup”? There just didn’t seem to be a good reason given. Still, like you… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

Ha Ha! Princess Bride reference on the Prepper Journal. OK, now I have read it all.

I know what you mean. Thad makes up for it in the next three books though and the girl, well you will have to read ahead. As for Sarge, I imagine hearing someone portraying him out loud could have been much more obnoxious. I was able to tamp it down in my mind as I read them. All in all, I really liked them. I think I like Joe Nobody’s series just a hair better and I am two behind on that one now.

Pat

Sarah Reid
Guest

I am reading the book right now, and enjoying the story immensely. I’m not a huge fan of books of this genre that focus so much on the exact specifications of all the equipment. I don’t actually care what brand and model the protagonist’s stove is, for example. It’s really obnoxious. But I can look past it. The main “what I didn’t like” of this book was the REALLY poor editing. It seems to be par for the course of self-published books these days, but there is really no excuse for not hiring a good copyeditor.

Pat Henry
Guest

Thanks Sarah! If you like this one, you will like the sequels even better I think.

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