Apocalypse for Beginners is one of my favourite examples of CanLit – the sort of story that always seems like it’s set in your home town, no matter where you grew up. This was actually one of the novels that turned me on to the idea of CanLit in the first place – because believe it or not, I used to be the sort of monster who thought national literature sucked. Go figure.*
The premise: Hope is a normal teenager, except for the fact that every single member of her family has a coming-of-age vision of the apocalypse, complete with a clear date and time. When that date and time inevitably passes without the world ending, family members generally have to be committed to psychiatric wards for their own safety. Her mother’s predicted apocalypse date has come and gone, resulting in an odd variety of coping mechanisms and self-medication. Meanwhile, Hope waits for her own apocalypse to pass – whiling away sleepy summer afternoons in a small town and making a stab at being a normal teenager.
It’s interesting to note (as I saw when I looked at The Preservationist covers) that Apocalypse for Beginners is actually the alternate title for this novel, which was originally published in Quebec under Tarmac. Whatever you want to call it, there are recurring images and themes that make for some great cover art.
There’s the obvious mushroom cloud imagery:
With bonus points for ramen noodles, which also feature heavily in the novel:
A couple covers nod to lemons, which Hope tries to string up to make a giant, organic battery in one notable scene:
And finally what might be my favourite cover – something about it seems clear-cut and comforting, and I like the nod to both titles:
How about you? What’s your favourite cover? Any that I’ve wrongfully left out? Leave me your comments and opinions in the comments!
Cover to Cover is a weekly feature appearing every Wednesday. You can browse through past posts here.
*That said, the deeper I get into the CanLit rabbit hole the less I’m sure national literature doesn’t suck – for more on that subject, I’ll leave you with this unsettling article from Partisan, which I can’t stop re-reading the way you I couldn’t stop playing with a loose tooth when I was a kid. But in many ways I still think that Canadian literature is important and worth reading and recognising and highlighting!