Pox: John Pelletier
Reviewed By Yvonne Miller
Pox is a story that feels incredibly close to the bone. An emerging pandemic. The stockpiling of food. People acting batshit crazy. Upon finishing the last page, I had to take a few moments to get my thoughts in order. I enjoyed that the characters weren’t very likeable, and you didn’t feel too much sympathy for them. I love stories like this – you scream at the page and find it intellectually satisfying. That is how I would describe this story. Plenty of elements to keep you engrossed. It ticked all the boxes.
Alan is a giant asshole.
I haven’t disliked a character quite like Alan in a while. My initial thoughts were just how Pelletier managed to incorporate the frustrated writer narrative so perfectly. You feel bad for how he feels. The words are on the tip of your tongue, you know exactly what you want to say but can you transfer that perfect wording from your brain to the page? Can you hell! That initial sympathy wains as soon as you get insight into how he thinks and feels, as soon as he opens his mouth – wow, Grade A asshole.
Alan’s wife likes to get the bit between her teeth.
Ok so my criticism isn’t just reserved especially for Alan…oh hell no. Although I can understand on some level that things for the couple are hard financially, there’s just no need to talk to each other in the way that they do. They are brash and hurtful to one another. They both seem to detest one another with snipes about one another. If they are that miserable together why not just separate? It was a good exploration of a relationship that has gone awry. Financial woes and a lack of respect added to the catalyst.
Alan is finally making headway with his writing, it only takes a potential pandemic and an outbreak of blackened, puss-filled pox. He’s doing the best writing of his career and it only took his wife to be locked down in the hospital in which she works. He no longer has her nagging and sniping, and although he gives her small thought during the panic, he doesn’t really care – all he cares about is his writing. The self-centredness was shocking.
The writing was brilliant, the subject matter was intense but tackled with a bold sense of where our current world is at. It’s a story that can evoke emotion and at no point did the story stagnate or feel dragged out. It’s the kind of story that you just must keep reading to find out where it will lead, and I wasn’t disappointed. An ending that leaves you feeling satisfied and a little smug.
Be careful what you wish for.
Alan is a would-be author whose failure to launch has stressed his relationship with his wife to a critical breaking point. Lost in his own frustrations, musings and self-pity, Alan is all but oblivious to the rising threat to the health and safety to those closest to him.
Even as the spreading horror comes knocking on their apartment door, Alan slides further and further into his obsession.
Well, what can I say about myself? I’m a 33-year-old married woman and mum to 3 crazy boys, aged 13,6 and 4. My eldest has a genetic condition that causes a visual impairment so as you can imagine life can be very chaotic and provides many challenges along the way but I would 100% never change any of them. They fulfil my life beyond measure.
I adore books – I adore shouting about books! I’m a reviewer of mainly horror and dark fantasy. Whether that’s featuring werewolves, evil creatures or the depravity of humanity, I will read them all.
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