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Excerpt from Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Let's Call It a Doomsday

by Katie Henry

Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie  Henry X
Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie  Henry
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2019, 400 pages
    Aug 11, 2020, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
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Print Excerpt

Martha tilts her head. "Couldn't?"

I've only been seeing her for a few weeks, but I know what it means when she repeats a word I've said. It's like when you insert your card at the train station and the turnstile spits it back out. Try again. She's looking for me to say wouldn't or didn't want to in place of couldn't. But I really couldn't. I had my finger on the button and my foot on the brake but my brain was already out of the parking lot and on Claremont Avenue, calculating exactly what would go wrong.

You could hit a pedestrian.
You could hit an elderly pedestrian.
You could hit a child pedestrian.
You could hit an elderly pedestrian carrying a child pedestrian and get arrested for manslaughter and your parents will have to pay restitution to the elderly/child victims and you'll never go to college because of your horrible guilt and will instead live in the basement for the rest of your life and befriend the rats.

Alternatively, I could humiliate myself in front of a DMV employee. At least I've got a road map for that.

"What feelings are coming up, right now?"

I shrug. "I'm fine."

"'Fine' is not a feeling."

"Is 'annoyed' a feeling?"

She smiles. "Yes. Is that what you're feeling about your driving test?"

"It's not a big deal to me. So I guess I'm annoyed it's such a big deal to other people."

"That's understandable." Martha pushes a dark, springy ringlet back from her face. "Is this something you've experienced before? Or is this a new feeling?"

For someone so serene and unflappable, she talks about feelings a lot. Never hers, though. Only mine.

"It's not new." I hesitate. "It's actually kind of constant."

"Tell me about that."

I slump back on the couch. The more information you dredge up and vomit out to someone, the more they seem to want.

Is it really that horrible to have someone listen to you? Your parents are paying for this. You're wasting their money.

"Everything my mom and dad think is important, I don't want anything to do with. They want me to get my license. They want me to be in AP classes. They want me to hang out with girls from church more. I don't care about the things they care about. I just don't."

Not only are you wasting your parents' money, you're using it to talk crap about them.

"It goes the other way, too," I say, trying to seem like less of a jerk. "They don't care about what I care about, either." I pause. "They don't want me to care about the things I care about."

"Can you give me an example?"

I give her a look like, Come on. She smiles. She waits.

"Like disaster preparedness," I say. "Like the end of the world as we know it."

"Where do you think your interest in survivalism comes from?" she asks.

I shake my head. "I'm not a survivalist."


"Survivalists have skill sets. Hunting and fishing and living off the land, and I can't do any of that. I'm a prepper. I have supplies, not skills. Or, I would have supplies, except my mom told all my relatives they can't give me gift cards anymore because I'll spend them on 'bizarre internet stuff,' as if she won't appreciate properly filtered water you don't even have to boil first."

"Okay," Martha says. "Prepping. Where do you think your interest in prepping comes from?"

My palms itch. I try to put my hands in the pockets of my cardigan, but they don't fit. I take them out.

"Do you know," I ask Martha, "where the word interest comes from?"

"Where it comes from?"

"The history of the word. Its etymology." She shakes her head. "It's Latin, if you go back far enough. The noun form of interesse, which means, literally, 'to be between.' It was more a legal term, though, not like we think of it now."

Excerpted from Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Henry. Excerpted by permission of Katherine Tegan Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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