The Compound — S.A. Bodeen

Posted on: July 27, 2011

Imagine the type of survival retreat someone with Bill Gates’ wealth could create. Every luxury imaginable — hydroponics for fresh veggies, enough space for livestock, a fully stocked infirmary, hardened against any possible threat. A survivalist’s wet dream, right?

Now, imagine being in this retreat for several years.

And the leader/owner goes batshit crazy.

Bodeen’s book The Compound is both entertaining and thought provoking. It is written for the young adult crowd but don’t let that keep you away from it. Eli is the main character. He was 9 years old when his father, a billionaire computer guy, shuffled he and his family into the compound in advance of a nuclear attack. Dad has been planning for years for this very thing and the compound is the epitome of his preparations.

However, Dad has kept some secrets from his family. Some of those secrets were by their nature necessary. Others will shock the reader.

While the back story is told in a series of flashbacks interspersed here and there, the main portions of the book take place after the family has been underground for six years. Food is running a bit low and some of the elaborate preparations are starting to come unraveled. This is one of the aspects of the book that I found very “spot on” with regards to practical, real world, survival preps. No matter how much we prep, there are inevitably going to be things we forget, things that will run out.

The other aspect to think about is, what happens if a family member becomes mentally ill? How do you deal with that? We usually stock up on medical supplies, including basic medications. But those probably don’t include meds used to address psychological issues. And in this book, that mental illness becomes a MAJOR issue.

Interesting, thought provoking, and engaging. Recommended.

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