The expression ‘Old School’ was originally used as a derogatory description, though the term has evolved as retro became cool. I would describe A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer as Old School, Old School meant with a positive connotation. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles to this story; it’s just a simple tale of family love amidst the dark days following an apocalyptic event. It’s not a book that’s likely to be optioned for a movie….there’s not much of a hot romance, nor are there a lot of scenes that lend themselves to special effects, stuntwork, etc. and in my book there’s nothing wrong with that.
Even the apocalyptic event was not triggered by some malevolent superpower, instead it’s a result of an accident, an accident that nevertheless has a devastating impact. Nadia, the daughter of a military man has an advantage when it comes to surviving this changed world, her father taught her to, “be the cockroach” in other words – adapt and survive. Her Dad didn’t just try to teach his daughter practical skills, he would take her little brother Rabbit out on camping trips to give hands on practice. She didn’t learn as much from her Mom, despite the fact that her mother is a nurse because Nadia’s mother hated her husband’s military career which took him too often away from the family and put him in dangerous places, until eventually he is killed in one.
Her father’s death forced Nadia to grow up quickly as her mom was frozen in grief after her father’s death, though there is another father figure in her life, her mysterious Uncle Bean. However, Bean isn’t around when the apocalyptic event happens leaving Nadia in charge of keeping her promise to her Dad and Bean to get her brother to their grandfather’s home, a long trek from Seattle to West Virginia. On a daily basis she has to employ everything she ever learned from her Dad to keep herself and her brother from starving, from being robbed and worse from survivors who didn’t become better people as a result of the situation. That’s what I enjoyed most about this book was that there were some educational aspects wrapped inside entertainment. Things like what kind of supplies should be packed if you need to travel across a now dangerous world, how to siphon gas from abandoned cars to keep moving, basic first aid techniques, etc. Maybe I particularly appreciate it as I consider myself a city girl. I have never been the outdoorsy type who likes to camp or hunt. I also am completely lacking in mechanical ability, in a world where you can’t take something to be repaired, you better figure it out. I have had discussions with friends about how useless our modern ‘skills’ would be in an apocalyptic world….so much for tech skills if there’s no power for computers, social media and marketing – useless, really how many of us would be as well-equipped as 16-year old Nadia?