In We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly, Ash and Pia, two hipsters from Brooklyn, New York have recently moved to the small town of Isole, Vermont. There they purchased a beautiful farm house and plan to live a more slower paced life. All of those plans are ruined when the government issues a warning for the eastern half of the United States: a super storm, the likes of which has never been seen will hit sometime in the next few months with devastating consequences. Ash and Pia react to the news in different ways, putting a strain on their marriage. Will their marriage survive? Will they even survive the Storm?
If you do NOT believe in global warming and climate change, stop reading this review and don’t even bother reading this book. For those that do believe in global warming and climate change, this fictional account of Ash and Pia presents an alarming and realistic scenario. Reilly spins an apocalyptic tale that focuses not only on the Storm but the havoc it wrecks on the environment and the people. Like the title says, the United States really isn’t ready for a disaster of the magnitude portrayed in this book.
In addition to the climatic havoc global warming wrecks, Ash and Pia find their marriage being ripped apart. Vermont was supposed to be a huge change for them. A chance for them to slow things down and perhaps even start a family. Instead Ash and Pia take opposing sides in preparation for the Storm. Ash becomes one of the voices of reason in the town and even takes on a leadership role. Pia meanwhile throws her lot in with the doomsday peppers in direct contradiction of what her husband is trying to accomplish.
A lot of time is spent on Pia’s increasingly erratic behavior. I am not sure if Reilly intended for this but my overall impression of Pia was that she had an undiagnosed mental illness that was brought out by the Storm. What was once cute and artistic in Brooklyn now begins to annoy Ash and pull at the seams of their marriage. Ash spends a lot of time in the book biting his tongue while Pia flits around from project to project and displaying some concerning behaviors.
We Are Unprepared is Meg Little Reilly’s debut novel. The book is a gripping account of a natural disaster and the effects of it not only on the environment but on people as well. Featuring well developed characters with a scarily realistic plot, this is a great read for anyone who enjoys natural disaster/dystopian fiction.
(Candy borrowed this book from the library.)