The end of the world arrives not with a bang, not with a whimper, not with the groans of the undead but with the unsettling sound of strawberry jam squishing through the streets of Brisbane, Australia. Yes, my friends; the human race will face its greatest tribulations in the form of a man-eating condiment.
The story begins with our protagonist, the gainfully unemployed Travis, waking up on a normal day and wondering how the job hunt will go. Except not a sound comes from the city outside his window and when he ventures out, the jam is up to the third floor of his building. Travis and a few other survivors make their way through the nearly empty city, meeting secret agents, battling plastic people, and a cult of office workers as they try to survive the jamocalypse.
Facing this potentially hilarious circumstance, I had high hopes for this book. However, Travis is a dull narrator and the jokes at most inspired a mild chuckle. About 50 pages in, I was tempted to give it up but kept on out of sheer morbid curiosity. I mean, the city is covered in man –eating, strawberry jam. You gotta see how this pans out if for nothing more than to stop wondering who lives or who dies and to get to see the word “jamocalypse” in a sentence.
Few of the characters are likeable if you can flush out their personalities at all. They stand in as archetypes; The Normal Guy, The Roommate, The Jerk, The Girl, The Secret Agent, and so on. I couldn’t get deep enough in the world created in the book to really care about any of them. I felt tripped up by the uneven writing; sparse descriptions in some places, witty pop culture references in others, then some really great writing in between. It was enough to make me dizzy! If the effect was to make me feel like I was bobbing in the jam itself, it worked.
Overall, I cannot say I completely hated this book, but I didn’t fall in love with it either. It’s the overall premise that kept me reading; the novelty of the end of the world in a completely unexpected fashion. If you want to read this for a silly end of the world scenario and nothing else, then you could do a lot worse. But at 400 pages, that’s one hell of an investment and it may not be worth it for you. So, with that resounding “Meh,” my final word is this book will find its niche. Just not with me.