Friday, January 29, 2010

Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien

Book Details
Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien
Paperback, 240 pages
2007, Simon Pulse
ISBN: 1416939210

Is anyone out there?

Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.

But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann's solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.

I really liked Z for Zachariah. The idea of being the last person on Earth as far as you know is fascinating to me. Anne had to be strong, self-sufficient and much older than her 16 years. Her life and the way she managed to live on her own and do so without being completely grief ridden for everyone she had ever known was inspirational rather than depressing.

The story began to give me some trouble when it introduced another person into the scenario. From the moment Mr. Loomis showed up, a loud chanting began in my mind. Over and over, I thought she should shoot him in the head. It may not have been Ann's way, but it would have been mine. For the love of all that is holy, just shoot him in the head. Now. Do it. Over and over. So that probably tells you more about me than you needed to know.

Z for Zachariah was very good, despite the homicidal urges it provoked in me. It seemed real to me, unlike many post-apocalyptic novels I've read. The ending was left more open than I would have wanted, but since Robert O'Brien died before finishing the novel, I consider it very fortunate that his wife and daughter completed it was well as they could. The book was depressing yet hopeful, very honest and really put you into Ann's mind. As I read, I felt involved, connected to the storyline and felt forced to make the decision as to what I would do in the situation. Which was obviously to shoot. A lot. Completely thought provoking.



  1. Wow, this one seems so chilling. But very intruiging. The cover is kind of creepy, but I'm sure it fits with the theme very well! I'll be sure to look for this one!

    from Une Parole

  2. This sounds really intersting and the cover looks great. GReat review :)