This is a sad book. It’s hard to read. It tells its story in pieces, and the pretty pieces make the ugly ones stand out all the more.
It’s the true story of a man named AbdulRahman Zeitoun, his wife Kathy, their kids and extended family, during and just after Hurricane Katrina. One small piece of a very big, weird, awful time. And that drill down into what happened to one little group of people makes the bigger picture that much more terrifying.
How fast does society break down, and who gets to decide what that looks like: The police, the criminals, the rich people, or the ones with guns? It was just that chaotic. And that awful.
Don’t read this story if you’re depressed, but do be aware that Eggars has a writing style that borders on poetic journalism for most of it. He jumps back and forth between family history and the days of the storm and its aftermath. I’m glad I read Zeitoun. And I kind of wish I hadn’t.