"The Trip" Book Review
Written by Tim Morgan
2012, 232 pages, Fiction
Released on December 26th, 2012
Every book lover knows that moment when it’s past when you should have gone to sleep, but there’s less than 100 pages left, and you are just so caught up in a great read and just need to finish. It takes an engaging and well written story to make that happen, and The Trip is that and more. Tim Morgan weaves an entertaining and tense story of a group of friends planning a cross-country bicycle trip just as the zombie apocalypse hits. They get a little more than halfway through their journey when the world around them collapses. Can they make it back home to be with their family?
The story is told in both real time (surviving the hordes) and flashbacks to the months leading up to the simultaneous start of the titular trip and the outbreak of a new deadly strain of flu originating out of Mumbai. And while it is a zombie story, it’s first and foremost a story of friendships, loves, losses, and the everyday struggles of a group of teens readying themselves for adulthood and the trip of a lifetime.
The magic of the tale comes more from the interpersonal struggles than it does from the very real (and realistically portrayed) threat of zombies. The tension of those attacks is palpable and amps up the reader, but it’s not the star of the novel. Morgan writes very honest portrayals of teens on the verge of adulthood and their hopes and aspirations. He also paints them in a very tangible light as being both hyper aware of the greater situation as it develops and having that young it-can’t-effect-me blasé attitude about the world at large. That juxtaposition and Morgan’s keen use of it makes the characters seem realistic and relatable. It’s hard to get into a story and worry about someone’s survival if you don’t like them. Even the least redeeming character, Chris, the irresponsible, devil-may-care, brash sort of jerk is a very human and flawed portrayal that works and underscores the importance of friendship when it counts. You want so badly for a happy ending for all. Meghan and Dave – the other leads – have a budding start of a romance born out of their friendship that is devastated by the fall of society.
I could easily see this as a great bridge movie between audiences who would be caught up in the relational drama and work through the horror, and horror audiences who can put up with a young adult story line that never feels pandering or cheesy. At 232 pages, it’s not a large time investment (I knocked it out in a little over a day and a half of part-time reading) but it’s well worth the effort. As a bonus, it’s currently only $2.99 for the Kindle version, and worth the read at twice the price.
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