Cover to Cover with Apocalypse for Beginners

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:

Spanish edition    Paperback_English    Italian edition

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:

German edition

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!


11 thoughts on “Cover to Cover with Apocalypse for Beginners

  1. Without having read “Apocalypse for Beginners” my favourite cover is the one with the atomic bomb of ramen noodles. I’m not really sure why it stands out to me, but it’s really evocative of war and the end of the world. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey 🙂
    I just found your blog and I really like your idea of comparing different book covers for the same book. Never saw that before.
    My favourite cover for this book is the one with the noodles just because there are not so many covers that look this way. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi! What a great blog. This is such a great way to introduce people to new literature and I have to say my favorite book cover would have to be the last one that incorporates both titles. There is something very nostalgic about it.


    • I like the way it mixes the whimsical nature of the novel in with the serious – Hope keeps seeing omens in the due dates stamped on ramen packets, which is where the ramen theme comes in. I’m glad it’s incorporated into so many of the covers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am always looking for new books to read and thank you for this post. This seems right up my alley. Currently I am reading the Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. Within a couple days I shall be finished and I’ll be looking for this book. I personally like the Ramen cover, agreeing with Erin up there. I think it is a very creative cover.

    Liked by 1 person

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