‘Flowertown’ Gross Yet Engrossing
If you can get past the vomit and diarrhea, Flowertown is an interesting and exciting dystopian novel with a sad, yet believable plot.
Set in a small 7.5 mile stretch of land in Iowa’s Penn County six years after a pesticide spills and gets into the water supply, trapping the survivors inside a strict quarantine zone. Flowertown is named after the sickly sweet scent that the contaminated citizens secrete due to their medications supplied by the company Feno Chemical, who was responsible for the spill.
The protagonist is 30-something Ellie Cauley, who was visiting her boyfriend’s family when the spill happened. When he and his entire family died from the initial spill, she was left alone and stuck without any family. Working in the records office, Ellie spends most of her time getting stoned with her friend Bing in a restricted area of her office to dull the pain of living there.
Hints of a rebellion in Flowertown begin to emerge when Ellie receives a letter with the cryptic words “All You Want. Arm yourself.”, the same words that are plastered all over Flowertown.
Then one day Feno goons show up and set a guard in front of the restricted area, which fires up her curiosity over what exactly is in the files she’d previously just sat on while smoking. As things start to ramp up, Ellie begins to realize she has been hiding in a haze of pot and could be doing more than waiting for death.
Although very well written and a definite page turner, I should note that anyone who has problems with filth such as vomit and diarrhea needs to be warned that this book doesn’t spare any detail when it comes to the worst of our bodily fluids. Someone is puking just about every other page and when they’re not puking, they’re drenched in sweat or in the disgusting shared latrine with the runs from hell.
The book has good twists and never really slows down, which is how a good dystopian thriller should be. A worthy read for sure.