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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

What would you do if every spark of electricity suddenly vanished, as if somebody had flipped a switch on the entire planet? Cars won't start, the heat shuts off, there's no water in your faucet, and your radio, TV, and flashlight go dark. Everyone in Charlie's small town is baffled. But as time passes, lawlessness erupts and takes an ugly turn. When the market and pharmacy are torched by an an…

The Big Dark

by Rodman Philbrick

Overall Book Review:

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick is a suspenseful novel of ‘what-if’, survival, and good vs. evil. When a solar flare disrupts the electricity and all things mechanical is the middle of winter, the citizens of Harmony have to decide how they’ll react and how they’ll survive. Told from the perspective of middle-schooler Charlie Cobb, we see how the majority of the town bands together to help one another survive but also how a small group of people turn to meanness, bullying, and scare tactics.

The Big Dark uses a ‘what-if’ scenario to teach the valuable lessons of kindness, preparedness, courage, and community. As the town struggles to survive and Charlie faces his own crisis, the reader can see that kindness can prevail and overcome evil and hate. This novel is a quick read that leaves one thinking and wondering ‘what if’.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 instances of person using the word Jew in a derogatory way. 

Violence/Gore:  Person fires gun at ATM because it stopped working; building burns down because of arson; person says it would be better to let people who can’t take care of themselves out in the cold to freeze to death; character sees signs in a town that are threatening (‘Looters will be shot on sight’; ‘Owners shoots first’); story told how people in hospital started dying because there was no electricity; character held down against his will while things are taken from him; person surrounds a building that has most of the town in it with his minions and threatens to burn the building down with people in it; character shot and wounded. 

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:

Couple described as bad drinkers.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I remember as a young girl sneaking out of my bedroom to read by the hall light my parents left on, just so I could finish an exciting book. I’ve always loved books and reading is somewhat of a passion for me–something I’m passing on to my kids. I have four children and I have a hard time making them turn out the light when they say, “But I just got to the good part”.