Book Review: Last One at the Party, by Bethany Clift

Should you read a story set in a pandemic when you are living in a pandemic? Where will we be in 2023? How do I predict I would fare in a dystopian world? I answer all these questions and more!

It’s 2023 and a deadly disease starts in a small town in the USA. It quickly spreads over the continent causing the collapse of the federal government, the death of the president, total silence.

Then it spreads.

Japan and Russia start reporting cases. Eventually it arrives in the UK, where we meet the heroine of our tale. Her husband dies, her family dies, her friends, the whole of the country is dead. In Last One at the Party we follow her on a journey across the UK with a rescued dog called Lucky to find out if she is the last person alive.

Why did James get 6DM and I didn’t?

Was it because he went out in those three days? Did I miss some weird contraction window? Maybe we both had it, but my disgusting hangover symptoms had expelled it from my body? If doctors had induced extreme vomiting in the early stages of the virus could they have purged it from everyone?

Maybe I really am the ultimate anomaly, the only person with immunity in the whole world. Maybe I am actually the cure.

Last One at the Party

6DM: short for 6 Days Maximum, because once you have contracted this disease that’s the most you have left to live. For me, that the disease is given such a macabre name really set the tone for the novel. No ifs, no buts: it packs a punch or two. There’s lots of squishy, squeamy, visceral descriptions of the dying, the dead, and the various stages of bodily decomposition. It made me squirm to read in places:

The floor was already covered in all manner of bodily fluids and by-products. There was a group of bodies to the left of the counter and they had been leaking copiously for some time. It was like I had stepped into the money shot from the world’s worst torture porn movie.

Last One at the Party

But our lead is an ace person to see the end of the world as we know it through. She accidentally puts her hands through corpses, vomits, and reports back how they feel (*welp*). She sees the maggots and the beetles moving around inside dead people and smells the rotting bodies: and it’s all told so vividly that we feel, see and smell it all too! It’s definitely not for the faint of heart but, also, well worth the read. It’s a darkly funny novel that had me laughing and it is also has some very uplifting moments.

I also thought that there were some lovely observations about writing to record life and how important it is. We learn about the character’s background through flashbacks and how she always wanted to write a novel but didn’t. It’s an encouragement to follow our dreams and be creative. The flashbacks also had some great twists and reveals about her life pre-6DM: I now want to go and write about ships and ports because of her.

Is it a bit weird when she refers to Covid-19 and the 2020 pandemic? A little, but mainly because I’m at the point where I’m wondering if we are still going to be in it in 2023… But, I liked the references, they were like little electric shocks coming through the pages.

‘Your a killer f****** c***. I hope you die in agony.’

Imagine spending four days dying from 6DM and saving all your hate up for one final message only to have it ruined by bad grammar.

Last One at the Party

It made me laugh.

Do y’know, when I’ve read dystopian novels in the past, or watched films set in a post-apocalypse world where there are only angry dogs and deer left to roam the streets, I’ve thought to myself: I would die straightaway. In the first wave I would either be eaten by whatever zombie or catch the deadly virus. There’s no way I could learn to hunt for my food, fight off hungry animals, find shelter and make a fire. Like, it’s a lot. And that’s not to mention the terror associated with being the last remaining human on the planet. I just couldn’t – I know this about myself and I’ve accepted it. I watch and read the stories and I think but how did you know how to do that? So I very much enjoyed that the first thing the main character does in Last One at the Party, is go and find herself a luxury hotel with a fully stocked bar and uses all the mini-toiletries. That’s going to be my plan now, should I ever need it.

So, should you read a story set in a pandemic when you are living in a pandemic? Yes! Have a giggle and prepare yourself for 2023; it looks like it is going to be much, much worse.

Published by luggageandscribble

Oh hey, just a girl who loves reading.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Last One at the Party, by Bethany Clift

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