Released May, 2014
Bottom Line: Skip it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?
– Amazon Book Description
The Three was one of the “summer books” I was most excited about…and it ended up quite possibly being the most bizarre book I’ve ever read. It’s definitely not for everyone…I feel like people will either love it or hate it depending on their personality, and there won’t be much in between. I don’t even think I really I liked it, but I do know that I could not stop reading it. It was almost like I rubbernecked a book…is that even possible?!
The Three is a story of tragedy, conspiracy theories, the media, religious fanaticism, politics, and paranormal activity…interwoven with the experiences of very regular people who get caught up in this out of control whirlwind. The mania that follows the crash centers on the three child survivors who some think are signs that the Apocalypse is near (let’s call this group the Religious Nutjobs) and who some think have been inhabited by alien beings (let’s call this group the Alien Nutjobs). This entire story is infested with wackos and there is really no perspective that you, as a reader, can trust. The sections dealing with the Religious Nutjobs have a tongue-in-cheek, “Best in Show” quality to them, which makes them much more bearable to read.
The story is told documentary-style via a “book within a book” (i.e. interviews with people close to the crashes, survivors, and the various special interest groups that tack onto this story, along with some documents and media reports). It reads almost like nonfiction, and I found myself forgetting at times that this didn’t really happen. Although I had to keep track of what seemed like a lot of people and parts, I liked this style. It added to the spooky “could this happen in real life” quality of the book.
I was fascinated by the parts of the book dealing with the actual plane crashes and the subsequent investigations. Having had a tiny obsession with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (a small part of me still thinks they could have landed on some desert island – don’t judge!), the ins and outs of piecing together what made these four planes go down locked in my interest. And, the possibility that plane crash investigations can serve various parties’ purposes rather than the truth piqued my curiosity.
I should warn you that there’s an introductory chapter describing the crash from the perspective of Pamela May Donald (a somewhat nervous, sheltered, overweight, religious woman from Texas who travels with a fanny pack), who survives the crash for a very short time and whose experience plays an integral role in the religious fanatic’s conspiracy theories. I was not a fan of this section – but don’t form your initial impressions based on it because it reads nothing like the rest of the book.
I was on the fence about whether to recommend reading or skipping this book. To be honest, I wrote this review months ago and initially recommended to read it. Now that time has passed, I think back on The Three as a pretty bizarre book (despite my rubbernecking) where the weirdness outweighs the interesting parts and I haven’t verbally recommended it to a single person since then. So, I changed my recommendation to “skip it”.