4/13/21; 352 pages
Just Get Home by Bridget Foley is a highly recommended heart-pounding thriller of a disaster novel.
“All that stuff about making sure you have enough bottled water and a bugout bag? It’s horse pucky. Propaganda to make it seem like the people in charge can do anything about it. Just wait patiently, Good Citizen. Help will arrive.” She saluted, the cherry tip of her cigarette making an arc through the air. “When it happens... It will be chaos for days. Weeks. There will be looting. Riots. The earthquake isn’t the real disaster, Dessa. The disaster is what happens after.”
Dessa is a single mom living in Van Nuys, California, who is having a rare girl's night out. She has her three-year-old daughter, Olivia, all ready for bedtime when the new babysitter arrives and she heads to downtown Los Angeles to meet her friends. She is leaving the restaurant/bar where she met her friends when the ground first begins to shake. Beegie is a young teenage girl who is escaping her current foster mother by riding the bus. She returns to her previous foster home to collect her things that the sexually abusive older son took from her and then gets back on the bus, planning to ride it all night. Beegie is on the bus when the earthquake hits.
These two women end up helping each other survive after the Big One
hits Los Angeles. Dessa has one goal - to get home to her daughter and
make sure she is okay. While trying to get home, Dessa witnessed Beegie being raped. She
hid, uncertain how to help the girl and then didn't see her afterward.
Beegie, however, finds a way to stop the man she saw attacking Dessa.
Dessa recognizes her purse and knows she is the girl she saw, although
she does not say anything to Beegie. The two travel together, trying to
get home, as the streets become increasingly dangerous.
Both Dessa and Beegie compartmentalization their lives. Sure, they are compartmentalizing very different things, and live very different lives but they share this approach to life and the challenges they face. This probably helps them as they work together to get home, although if home is an answer or safe or there is a question always present. Foley does a great job developing these two characters, making them individuals but also showing their inner thoughts and a basis for their friendship through the trauma and ordeals they both experience.
The pace of the plot moves quickly through all the different
challenges and encounters the women face in this natural disaster novel
of the predicted Big One finally hitting California. This is a survival
novel featuring two females overcoming the disaster and fighting their
way through insurmountable odds to find their way to safety, or, for
Dessa, back home to her daughter. Obviously, Dessa displays a strong
example of the maternal bond and how mothers will try to overcome all
odds to make sure their children are safe.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books in exchange for my honest opinion.