The End Of The World Running Club
By Adrian Walker
Edgar Hill is far from your typical hero. He is an overweight, middle-aged man who drinks too much. Ed would rather spend his time drinking than or nursing a hangover than spending time with his family.
Then an apocalyptic event occurs and Edgar finds himself separated from his wife and kids. Suddenly all he can think about is getting them back. He will do anything to get them, including run over 500 miles across the dangerous and desolate country.
I knew as soon as I saw the title of this book that I had to read it and that there was a high chance I would love it. Since finishing it I can say that The End Of The World Running Club is one of my new favourite books.
“Beliefs are strange. Things of certainty about things uncertain. Take mine, for example. I believe there are graves in the field next to the house where I live. I stop at the fence every morning and I look at three lashed crosses standing crooked against the sea, and I believe I know who is buried beneath them.
But I can’t be sure, so I believe instead. I suppose I could dig them up, but as I see it, there are only two ways that little enterprise could end, and neither of them is particularly palatable. Besides, if you have to go around digging up graves to prove your own sanity then you’ve probably lost it.”
After reading these opening paragraphs I knew I was hooked and, with the exception of a family meal yesterday, all my time has been spent reading this book.
The day before the world ended Edgar was nursing a hangover in a soft play children’s area with his wife and two kids.
I watched it all and wondered what any man might wonder at any given moment of his life: How the hell did I get here?
Edgar was adrift in his own life. He was overweight, drank too much and exhausted with his day to day life.
My job grated my very core. My marriage gave me vertigo. And my kids…Well, I wasn’t the most engaged father.
There were signs for a long time before disaster struck but Edgar like everyone else ignored those signs until it was too late.
The morning it all happened Ed was up early with his son Arthur and noticed a few unusual things like his tv wasn’t working and his phone had no signal. He also had a vaguely remembered sense of dread, a vague memory of the night before when he had been drinking. It wasn’t until he walked to the local shop and saw the newspapers abandoned outside that he remembered what was causing the sense of dread. They told of imminent asteroid strikes the next day and advised people to stay indoors. Ed saw a news report whilst he was drinking that said the same thing but he was too drunk to do anything about it or to remember it the next morning and feels bad because he has lost vital preparation time.
Ed and his family hunker down in their cellar and try to avoid listening to the screams of the dying outside the hatch. They become trapped in the cellar but eventually are rescued and taken to an army barracks.
Ed volunteers to go out on scavenging trips with the soldiers despite being physically unfit, anything to get away from his family and Beth knows that.
“You’d rather be out there than in here. You always have.”
Then Ed becomes separated from his family and realises that he should have been a better father and husband. Something in him changes and he realises he will do anything to get his family back including run across the country to get to them.
Ed is clearly not someone who likes physical exercise but his need to get to his family enables him to overcome his physical and emotional trials along the way.
“It happened because...well, I can’t tell you exactly why it happened. Perhaps it happened only because I let it happen.
I shall say this again. I hated running. I picked my way through the wreckage. Then I began to run.”
Normally I hate ambiguous endings that leave you questioning what you think you know but I don’t think any other kind of ending would have worked with this book. If the ending was 100% happy then it wouldn’t have fit the rest of the book and if it had been all doom and gloom then I would have felt either depressed or cheated.
I chose to believe the authors ending initially but on re-reading it for review there are certain things that made me think maybe the ending wasn’t as rosy as I first thought. For example, when I was re-reading it for review this paragraph jumped out at me:
“I believe what I believe to make life less terrifying. That’s all beliefs are: stories we tell ourselves to stop being afraid. Beliefs have very little to do with the truth.”
Some things I loved about The End Of The World Running Club
The relationship between Bryce and Ed. Despite first impressions they became close friends throughout their journey and helped each other along the way.
The way their journey reminded me of The Walking Dead but without the zombies!
The characters they meet along the way – each one adds to their journey in some way.
Gloria and the other female characters. Some reviews I have seen argued that the female characters are inconsequential in The End Of The World Running Club but I totally disagree. It is his love for Beth and Alice that keep him going. Memories of Alice are particularly strong throughout and it is a toy he made for Alice that gives him motivation during the hard times. Gloria could never be called inconsequential or weak but I don’t want to say anymore at risk of ruining the story. Also, as much as I disliked Jenny Rae she did provide some unique obstacles and was clearly a strong character.
Things I didn’t like about The End Of The World Running Club
That it had to end
Our Final Rating...
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