Remember when Survivor first came out and we were all like, “Wow, that’s crazy!” and sooo many people watched it…and now like 789 seasons later, it’s still on and Jeff Probst is still making people do shitty things for a jar of peanut butter? It also makes me think of Destiny’s Child
If I were to be on a Survivor-like show, I want to look like them.
But I’d probably look like this:
Because I totally ripped my arm open trying to help my husband carry a piece of wood to the attic last weekend.
Also I could never do these food challenges, because I don’t even like half the normal food in the world. Don’t give me a cricket. I will puke on you so hard, Probst. A snake? I’m dead.
Not pictured: Me saying a hard NOPE and leaving the island.
I think, I don’t know…I’m kind of over reality TV–but I know that puts me in the minority. Watching the End of the World has one of the best premises for a book that gets spoiled almost immediately (and that’s a shame). A group of strangers are going to be a part of a brand new reality show. They’re given very little information other than it’s supposed to occur on the island of Mozambique and that they had to basically sign their lives away because it could get very dangerous. It was pretty hard at first trying to keep track of all the different characters because they are all aspiring actors who all fit the different reality show tropes that we all know and recognize–we have hot stupid (slutty –not my actual feelings about it–but I think we’re supposed to mock these girls because one is “trailer park trash” and both are eagerly having sex with two male contestants. At no point do the men get slut shamed, but it’s clear that we’re not supposed to be rooting for these girls–because uh… the patriarchy and ill placed morality?). We’ve got the Party Aussie (trademark pending on that term) , the asshole meathead, the bad-ass marine lady (who is clearly modeled after Vasquez from Aliens because the author brings her up), the handsome quiet nice guy (who’s a classically trained thespian but is cashing in), and several contestants from places other than the US (such as Thailand and India who actually go beyond their stereotypical roles even though I got nervous at times) .
Right before the group is about to depart they see on the airport TVs something about a terrorist attack in several major cities. They get whisked upon a private plane while a flight attendant says they have to leave quickly before they get grounded. While in the air, Nate (classically trained/nice guy) seems to be one of the only people who cares that there seems to be a big thing going on internationally and so while others are drinking, he’s trying to access the airplane Wifi and it’s not working.(AIRPLANE WIFI- WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE, PEOPLE! Which makes me think of one of my favorite Louis CK skits which is totally unrelated, whatevs!). He relies on updates from the captain about a mysterious biological weapon that has been used which is killing off a large portion of the world and it’s only a matter of time until everyone dies. All of a sudden, the plane makes a crash landing. Everyone survives, but they are quickly attacked by African drug/war lords and the plane gets blown up–along with the captain and their chances of fixing the plane. This is not a spoiler, because it tells you this in the Amazon summary (but I don’t think it should because it would be better if you thought it was the reality show but weren’t sure and so then you’d be in the same boat as the contestants…
You know, and I know…that THIS is the reality show. The contestants don’t though. I think because they are overwhelmed by information (mourning the loss of family and friends with fake news reports cutting in and out sporadically) and also then quickly being thrust into the realistic setting of being shot at while being near a bunker filled with drugs). I feel like some of them should’ve figured it out…at some point, but they didn’t. There’s also lions to be scared of in the jungle (edit: I wrote woods, that’s how long I’d survive, lol) and dead people being dragged by them! Oh my!
Oh, but then the book goes down weird trails because there are rival warlords and ransom ideas, and some dude who’s trying to keep the contestants safe even though it has gone beyond a normal reality show because people could seriously be killed and the warlords that they paid off are becoming loose cannons but the shadowy “investors” won’t let the stop but we never find out why other than money–oh and there might be some civil war going down soon…SO MUCH DRAMA–stick with your original drama! That shit was great!
The show is an amazing success and over 1 billion people are watching it a day. It’s a total world phenomenon wherein the viewers don’t know how much actual danger these people are in. The contestants don’t know that they’re international stars now and we don’t know when this book is going to end and how the author is going to wrap it up…in a couple words–not well.
I loved the premise of this book and liked a good portion of it, but after awhile I didn’t care–maybe because there were too many characters? You know a good reality show eliminates people so you can focus on the remaining people–not the case here. And the ending just ended…not with a bang but a whimper (maybe even a whisper of a whimper). If you have nothing else to do, maybe pick it up but I think there are better books out there for you! 2.75 stars.