Last One at the Party

Last One at the Party


It's December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM ('Six Days Maximum' - the longest you've got before your body destroys itself).

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she's completely alone?

Our Review

Last One at the Party is about an ordinary woman alone in the world after the virus decimates the rest of the population. The virus 6DM (or 6 days maximum) starts in a small town in America and quickly spreads to other areas of the world. Our protagonist isn’t adept at surviving and decides if she is the last person left alive, she might as well have some fun.

Last One at the Party is one of the best end of the world books I have read. It is witty, unique and humorous. It has a gravity about it at times but without being too bleak.

I loved that the protagonist was flawed and not at all suited to surviving on her own. Prior to the virus she has suffered with long-term anxiety and depression and one of the best things about the book is that it helps shine a spotlight on both of these things.

It is important to state here that this is not a book about a pandemic but a book with a pandemic in it. The author makes it clear from her author’s note that this is the case. It is about a life not death.

Last One at the Party is set in 2024 in the UK. The UK government and its people watch in horror as the virus known as 6DM spreads across the globe. However, they have learnt their lesson from the events of 2020 and as they have fewer ‘friends’ post Brexit they close borders and blow up the Channel Tunnel. It isn’t enough to stop the spread though.

“And they needn’t have bothered with the military or police. No one wanted to leave the safety of their home.

People stayed in, hugged loved ones close, and watched horrific images on the tv whilst thanking God for our tiny little Island.

Just a quick warning here for those who are squeamish this book has some rather graphic descriptions of rotting bodies and various other unpleasant things so it may not be the book for you.

“We may not have known much about the virus, but what we did know was terrifying.

No one knew what the incubation period was, but it started with a head cold, then fever, vomiting, diarrhoea. Within 72 hours your vital organs started to disintegrate. Not degrade or even fail: DISINTEGRATE.”

After a short time of their being no cases in Britain things return to a semi normality but the protagonist is out for lunch with her friend Ginny and is discussing survival plans when Ginny points out quite how unsuited she is for survival. This was a big moment of connection for me in the book because the below passage could have been written with me in mind.

“Did I have any idea how unsuitable I was for how life would become? Could I grow my own food? Make my own bread? Did I own chickens? Could I milk a cow? Did I know how to make my own clothes? Did I have any transferrable skills? Obviously, the answer to all these was no.”

In the end though these plans are not needed for most people because somehow or other the virus gets into the country.

The protagonist is at work when she finds out and she and the other childless people decided to go out and get really drunk. She ends up with a free day hangover whilst her husband engages in some polite looting to try and get them some essentials. In doing so he ends up with the virus.

“James sneezed at 4.36 a.m. on December 3rd and I knew he was going to die.”

James having the virus and her reaction is the first clue to our protagonist being a little bit selfish. While her husband is dying, she goes for medicine for him but then ends up getting drunk in a bar so she can face his death.

In the end though she is there for him in his final moments.

“And, in the end, I was with him forever.

It was just his for-ever, not mine. The next twenty-four hours were the worst.”

After his death she sets out to find out if her parents and friends are alive and, in the process, we learn more about her life before the virus. This may have made the rest of the novel pretty depressing if it wasn’t for the protagonist having an important revelation along the way.

“It was hopeless.

I was hopeless.

And then I stopped.

It wasn’t just hopeless, it was also ridiculous. If I was the last one alive in a land of plenty, why was I sitting in the cold, eating stale bread?

I should at least have been sitting in the cold, eating stale bread whilst drunk on the finest champagne in the land.”

What follows is a series of hedonistic choices from our main character involving drink, drugs and breaking into Harrod’s food hall.

Somewhere along the way though she learns how to survive not just alone but with herself. She also encounters some wolves and some incredibly scary rats. The rat scene in particularly made me feel sick with anxiety for her.

Last One at the Party is poignant, timely and already a favourite book of the year.

“Everything had stopped.

And it would never start again.


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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