The Plot (from Goodreads):
It’s Tuesday morning in Lincolnwood, New Jersey, and all four members of the Altman family are busy ignoring each other en route to work and school. Dan, a lawyer turned screenwriter, is preoccupied with satisfying his imperious TV producer boss’s creative demands. Seventeen-year-old daughter Chloe obsesses over her college application essay and the state tennis semifinals. Her vape-addicted little brother, Max, silently plots revenge against a thuggish freshman classmate. And their MBA-educated mom Jen, who gave up a successful business career to raise the kids, is counting the minutes until the others vacate the kitchen and she can pour her first vodka of the day.
Then, as the kids begin their school day and Dan rides a commuter train into Manhattan, the world comes to a sudden, inexplicable stop. Lights, phones, laptops, cars, trains…the entire technological infrastructure of 21st-century society quits working. Normal life, as the Altmans and everyone else knew it, is over.
Or is it?
Over four transformative, chaotic days, this privileged but clueless American family will struggle to hold it together in the face of water shortages, paramilitary neighbors, and the well-mannered looting of the local Whole Foods as they try to figure out just what the hell is going on.
Thank you to Harper Perennial for this gifted copy of Lights Out In Lincolnwood and to Harper Audio for the audiobook. This book was unlike anything else I’ve read lately–my best approximation would be Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan. The gist is that one morning, all electricity suddenly cuts out in the Altmans’ suburb of NYC and seemingly all across America. Obviously, chaos ensues as the Altmans and their neighbors rush to procure water and food. I really enjoy end-of-the-world dramas, and this one was no exception.
Each member of the Altman family responds to the crisis in a different way, each with their own seemingly inconsequential panic. My favorite was the vape-addicted son, who couldn’t get his usual tobacco hit and instead tried dip.
I wasn’t quite satisfied by the ending, but no spoilers here.
Overall, this book was extremely creative, hilarious, and entertaining. I definitely recommend it!
What would you do if all electricity suddenly stopped? Us readers are better prepared than most, since I’m sure we’d all love an excuse to read by candlelight. I’d be thrilled not to have to go to work, but living in Vegas without air conditioning would be pretty unbearable. Hopefully it happens in the winter!
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