Title: The Bunker Diary
Author: Kevin Brooks
I recently read Kevin Brook’s The Bunker Diary after a friend recommended it, and knew I had to write something about it on here, even though I was only reading it for pleasure, not to review. It’s a relatively short book and I got through it within a day, not thinking it’d particularly enjoy it. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
First of all, it is important to mention that this book, which can be found in the Young Adult section of your local bookshop, is perhaps not something I would urge all to read. It is very gritty and quite scary. Let me explain the plot, and maybe you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
A homeless young man helps a blind old man load his bags into a van one morning. The next thing he knows, he wakes up in an underground bunker, alone. The only way out is a lift which he has no control over. The bunker has six bedrooms, six plates, six cups, six sets of plastic knives and forks etc…
“It was still dark when I woke up this morning.
As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.
A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete.
There are six little rooms along the main corridor.
There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out.
What’s he going to do to me?
What am I going to do?”
As time passes, the bunker slowly fills with more people until all six, ranging from a young child to an elderly man, are stuck in the bunker together. This is a fast paced novel that drew me in from the first page, and I literally couldn’t put it down. When I did (to eat and, well, live) it was all I could think about. How will they get out? What will come down in the lift next?
I’ve read Kevin Brooks before, though not for a few years, and this book has reminded me why I miss really good, gritty books. There are many grim scenes in this novel, delivered in a realistic way. It is hard not to imagine yourself in the bunker as one of the six. I kept asking myself, what would I do? It is a message about humans in a dire situation, but it depends how you read it. The end is shocking to say the least, but don’t all the best books have memorable endings?
It is easy to understand how Brooks won the 2014 Clip Carnegie Medal with this excellent piece of fiction. For younger readers, be cautions when starting this book, but I do not regret reading it whatsoever. Without a doubt the best thing I have read for a very long time.