California by Edan Lepucki chpt. 1-3
California is a post-apocalyptic love story set in a dystopian California.
Summary: Cal and Frida are a married couple living in a forest outside of L.A. It is revealed that over two years ago L.A. began “dying” with starving people in the streets, all the stores closing, increasing crime and murder, and limited resources, though it is not revealed what caused this. As a result of this chaos, Cal and Frida had saved fuel and supplies to relocate to the forest where they now live in a shed they found. Before relocating, Frida traded gold for a turkey baster at a store at The Grove, and she has kept the baster hidden from Cal among her other “artifacts” from her previous life, including her broken Device. What’s different and special about the turkey baster, is that despite its absurdity and uselessness she bought it after the chaos started so it represents a before and after to her. Outside in the forest, Cal sets up traps for gophers so that they can hopefully finally have meat to eat. Friday is 13 days late, and brings this up with Cal. There is backstory told about their former neighbors and friends the Millers and how they met four months after moving to the forest. The Millers introduced them to August, who comes by regularly and trades and sells items and goods.
-Whats your apocalypse escape plan? Would you head to the forest, or do you have a specific place in mind? My brother and I have made a pact to meet at South Coast Plaza (a mall) in the event of a apocalypse…though this plan significantly relied on us holing up in the former Borders and since Borders is no longer exists the plan probably needs to be updated…
-The turkey baster…thoughts? Her obsession with it felt a little borderline creepy to me, but I get it
-When they mentioned all of the chain stores staring to close two years earlier, did it remind anyone else of the recession specifically 2008-1009ish? It reminded me of when Borders, Tower Records, Blockbuster, Diedrich’s Coffee, and Circuit City all went out of business at around the same time
-The Grove! Do any spoonies that are reading actually live in California? I had my high school winter formal there hahaha
Cal reflects on his time at college at Plank, which is essentially Hogwarts for philosophers. He thinks about when he first got there and met his roommate Micah there, who is Frida’s younger brother by two years. Cal remembers how one time Micah told Cal about old paintings of German terrorist that he thought were brilliant. Frida wakes up and Cal tells Frida about the paintings, but he is afraid to mention her brother or that the paintings were of terrorists because he doesn’t want to upset her. According to Cal Frida saw her brother as perfect. Frida guesses that the paintings had to do with Micah anyway and gets upset and runs into the forest.
-What do you think of Micah’s comments on the painting, about how he felt dispassion because without any context of the paintings he couldn’t connect to the dead bodies that were in the pictures? I think in many ways this is true, and we do this all of the time when we see photos or war or poverty online, or in the news or magazines
-Plank sounds amazing…where can I sign up to be a part of that?
Frida reflects on when the earthquakes hit LA, then San Francisco, about 10 years ago when she was 17. After the Earthquakes hit was when everything began to fall apart. The rich moved into Communities and the film industry left LA, while the city was left broken. The Group formed as a result of this, consisting of concerned college students with immense debt that they were unable to pay off and that wanted to fix LA. August comes by Frida and Cal’s to trade, and Cal goes foraging while Frida trades her bra for garlic and 1 and half Vicodin that she takes hoping to get a buzz. Frida tells August about how her brother was a part of The Group and how he was the first suicide bomber in L.A. Micah believed that The Group could really change things for the better, but after he died the encampments that were originally set up as safe places for the poor to live, became guarded by Group members with firearms and the people who went there would have all of their possessions taken from them.
-What are your thoughts on Chapters 1-3? Did you enjoy reading? So far I really love what I’ve read :)