Man, do I love a good Sasquatch massacre story to lift my spirits during a deadly pandemic. I’m being serious, by the way. This was so freaky I felt better about the circumstances we currently find ourselves in. Leave it to Max Brooks to remind me how good we’ve got it, even when we’ve got it bad.
Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre is just what it sounds like. A firsthand account courtesy of a recovered journal written by Kate Holland who, along with her slacker husband and a few other families staying in a sustainable community named Greenloop, get stranded near Mt. Rainier after it erupts. Unfamiliar with how to survive without the basics we take for granted, the group quickly begins to struggle and butt heads. As they wait to be rescued, they begin to come to terms with their plight and characters either learn to heroically adapt and step up to the plate, or sadly, deteriorate. To make matters worse, a family of violent Sasquatch misplaced by the eruption are looking for their next meal, and discover the Greenloop clan. First, there is disbelief among the characters that Bigfoot exists, followed by a gruesome fight for survival between man and savage monster that was so well written you could taste the blood. In true Brooks fashion, he does his research and keeps it interesting by scattering chapters throughout the book by supporting characters. Included is a journalist researching the massacre, grieving family members, and a forest ranger trying to piece together and/or reflect on what happened after the fact. He also includes interviews about primate behavior from Jane Goodall and eerily appropriate excerpts fromThe Wilderness Hunter by Teddy Roosevelt.
I loved the creativity and no-shits-given-if-you’re-offended approach behind this book. The combination of several nightmare situations made for a horrifying, yet entertaining, recipe:
1 volcano eruption + a few Sasquatch + a splash of humor+ about a dozen city people unprepared for nature’s wrath = Devolution. And that pesky but beautiful drive for human survival, while interweaving those difficult decisions necessary to ensure the well-being of the many trumps the needs of one is never lost within these pages.
Warning: I do not recommend the audiobook, which is a shame because the voice cast is excellent save one person: Judy Greer. And Judy Greer is the main character so you can’t exactly escape her. She’s whiney, loud and shrill for much of the book. The panic is understandable given the subject matter, but it just didn’t work. It makes for a very difficult listen, which has resulted in low ratings for the novel on both Goodreads and Audible. Some people returned it, or couldn’t finish it. Which sucks, of course, because this was good. You will enjoy it more if you read it paperback or by ebook. Going through this in your own voice and at your own pace will be worth it. Trust me.
Rating: 4/5 stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Max Brooks, Narrator: Donald Glover
Kate Holland: Taissa Farmiga
Dan Holland: Wil Wheaton
Mostar: 100% Irene Bedard
Sr. Ranger Josephine Schell: Rosario Dawson
Frank McCay, Jr.: Nathan Fillion