Author Sam Sheridan’s latest work may be one of the most unique books of the last decade.
The Disaster Diaries: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse presents to us his very own nightmares about what disaster could put his family and the world at risk, whether it be ridiculous notions, like zombies, or more realistic possibilities, like an earthquake. By chopping these “nightmares” up, where Sheridan has to do everything from save his wife and kid from a crushed car to shoot off the undead to save his neighbor, the author stops at integral moments where unique skills will be required and take us on a journey with him to acquiring those skills. And let it be known Sheridan ain’t no slacker.
Whether it is learning the skills of marksmanship from an expert in the Alabama heat or talking to the world’s leading medical experts on diseases and basic CPR, Sheridan is thorough in his “research.” I phrase it that way only because Sheridan doesn’t research like a normal writer, and that becomes more explainable once you take a look at his biography. He’s done everything from attend Harvard University to spend time as an EMT and a professional fighter. He’s a writer that can’t settle on his own imagination. He must create stories in order to tell them. And that is quite admirable.
But through it all, one thing remains true, and it is the saving grace of The Disaster Diaries: Sheridan is a writer first, second and third. Despite being a man willing to learn the intricacies of bodybuilding and accept his role in protecting his family, it’s Sheridan’s voice that sets his book apart from the usual survival fluff. In fact, when Sheridan is describing his nightmares and laying out scenarios possibly to come from the apocalypse he shines as a writer. One wonders what a novel by him might be like…
And now for the meat and potatoes: yes, Sheridan’s book is about the “Apocalypse.” What apocalypse, you might ask? Sheridan’s not sure. He mentions zombies, aliens, earthquakes, nuclear war … hell, in a post 9/11 world anything is possible, right? However, he makes sure never to sell us on any conspiracy theory about this or that. He’s just a simple man with simple concerns like protecting his family just in case.
So, he decides to take every possible apocalyptic scenario and throw himself and his family into it and reveal the universal skills one might need to do something as profound as surviving.
The Disaster Diaries is a unique book in that it can appeal to the Everyman and the intellectual all at once. Sheridan slams us with facts and inside knowledge and his experiences in acquiring his various skills, but he also is a storyteller trying to invite the reader to join him on a paranoid journey where he will meet fellow paranoids and true experts. He always carries his story with voice and authenticity.
The Disaster Diaries is for everyone from the doomsday prepper to the thoughtful soul. It pleases on all levels for its profoundness in journey and voice to its manual like guide to facts and skills one might need in case The Walking Dead ever becomes more than just a show.
Unless you just think this all sounds a bit too childish. If so … then good luck.