The Death of Grass

John Christopher
The Death of Grass Cover

The Death of Grass


The entire time I was reading The Death of Grass by John Christopher I could not help but compare it to some of the other "end of the world" novels I have read. But the thing this novel reminded me of most was the 1962 movie "Panic in the Year Zero." This is a cult classic staring and directed by Ray Milland and a surprisingly good performance by Frankie Avalon. I can only imagine that this novel must have been shocking when it was released in 1956. It deals frankly with the aftermath of the breakdown of society. From the necessity to perform unspeakable violence in the name of self-preservation, to a frank portrayal of the aftermath of rape, this novel covers it all, and in an honest and realistic way without overt descriptions of the violence, but instead focusing more on the aftermath. The movie "Panic" gave me that same feeling.

The biggest irony of this novel for me was the idea that the main character is traveling across England to try and save his children from starving to death or becoming savages doing anything to survive, cannibalism is mentioned more than once, but the most violent people in the novel were John and his group. When his group is robbed of their supplies on the road, the men who did it were pretty friendly about it, allowing them to take some items for their survival. When they rob the next house they come to for supplies, they kill almost an entire family to do it. And they did it without much guilt. They seemed to use "my family needs to survive" as justification for any horrible act, and yet they still feel they are in the right.

I really enjoyed this novel and was sorry it ended so abruptly. If anything that is my major complaint with it. It almost felt like Mr. Christopher just decided he did not want to write the book anymore and so he just tacked on a hurried ending to get it over with. It almost felt like there should be another 25 to 50 pages to this book.

3.5 of 5 stars