Meet Grant Matson: lawyer, father, suburbanite husband who awakens to the fragility of modern society and embarks on a personal journey that introduces him to a world of self-reliance and liberation. 299 Days: The Preparation, the first book in the 299 Days series, depicts the inner struggles Grant must face as he exists in a social system he recognizes as unsustainable and on the verge of collapse, but one in which he has built his life around. What begins as a return to his roots, self-sufficiency and independence, becomes a full blown move to prepare for what may come. Engaging, insightful and a bit suspenseful, follow Grant’s transition from a self-perceived “sheeple” to a full-blown “prepper.” Will his fears come true? Is he an extremist? What if nothing happens? What if something does?
When I saw that this book was called The Preperation, I assumed it would focus on his prepping for disaster and the disaster itself, which is exactly the kind of apocalypse book that I love.
Boy was I wrong! The first 86 pages are the entire life history of our hero-his violent dad, the mother who won't protect him, the school bullies that torment him, his schooldays, his college days, meeting his wife, getting married, having kids, every single job he ever had, work disputes, his views on government corruption...and no sign of the type of preperation I was expecting! None of this stuff is greatly relevant to the story for me but if the author wanted to include some of this, why not do it through a few short memories as the disaster approaches ie watching his wife getting the kids up could trigger a brief memory of them meeting or something. Gradually introducing his past in this way is way better than the massive 86 page info dump!
At page 86, our hero starts to get interested in prepping, certain that the government are not capable of protecting the people if disaster should strike. I usually enjoy this part of a book as we watch the family get ready for what the reader knows is coming, but not in this book. Instead it felt more like another info dump with every detail of his fitness regime, every single purchase, every single political thought. While this was relevant to the story, I felt that the way it was written made it sound boring and repetitive instead of interesting and educational.
By the time Grant starts prepping seriously, the book is getting bogged down with the fights between him and wife over his spending and prepping. She does not believe what he is saying about coming disaster so everything has to be done behind her back. He's buying a cabin as a bugout location, lying to her that it is a holiday home, and forming a prepper community with likeminded people, buying guns and storing supplies there. He is hoping eventually to persuade Lisa to move there with him despite her not liking the cabin for holidays. This conflict with his wife was annoying and took away from the fact that this was the most interesting part of the book. I liked the slow breakdown of society with Grant watching anxiously. It does take until page 209 before the disaster actually begins.
Frankly I did find this boring with too much info dumping and conflict, padded out with things we really didn't need to know. A good editing to take out the padding and tighten up the plot, and there is the basis for a decent book there, which is frustrating. I decided not to read on with the series for fear that the following books might follow the same formula.