Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion By Kate Boyes

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‘Rare and Wonderful’ is what the head librarian calls the rare book collection of fictional Jefferson State University in south central Washington State. And it is where Kaylee Bearovna is under siege from invaders whose touch is an almost instant agonizing death.

The first part of the book is Kaylee’s journal, started on the 8th day of the invasion. After a long and eventful siege, she flees the library, but not before binding her journal, storing it in a box closed with a ribbon and leaving it in the R.A.W. She locks the library behind her.

Her journal is a classic first person story told by an unreliable narrator(1). Kaylee’s account of her prior life and personal experience of the invasion are like having 500 pieces from a 1000 piece puzzle. The reader can lay the pieces out on the table and get a rough idea of the picture, but it is confusing and incomplete.

Fast forward 40 or so years into the future. People are recovering from the invasion. An expedition group finds the safely secured R.A.W with its treasure trove of books…and Kaylee’s journal. Members of the expedition spend the next several years trying to discover what happened to Kaylee and all the people she mentioned in her journal.

The second part of the book are the expedition’s stories, told in the first person, about finding the missing puzzle pieces of Kaylee’s life before and after fleeing the R.A.W.

In the first part of the book, the reader tries to imagine all those missing puzzle pieces. In the second part, the missing pieces are placed down onto the table—PLUNK, PLUNK, PLUNK. Very satisfying!

But why is the book filled Walter Crane illustrations, to say nothing of palimpsests? That is part of the story.

An exquisitely crafted and engrossing book, sure to be enjoyable after a second read through. Highly recommended.

Pairs well with Daniel Dafoe’s Robinson Crusoe and George R. Stewart's Earth Abides

1. “ALL narrators are unreliable.” Gene Wolfe. Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion Impulse pick from the New Releases wall at the library.

When I finally finished this, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Fictional diaries can be hard to follow. The imagination this took to write was expansive, and seemingly infinite.

The protagonist finds herself trapped in a university library during an alien invasion. She recorded her experiences, ending with her leaving the library. There are testimonies after that from people who knew and/or loved the protagonist.

This book was a trip! Nice to visit, wouldn't wanna live there.

Recommended for readers who want Something Different. Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion 4.5 Stars
I can't remember how I came across this book but the synopsis intrigued me so I bought it. Then it sat on my shelf for a long time. It wasn't until a friend requested it that I decided to read it. I am so pleased that I did and so sad that I didn't do it sooner. A couple of things that steered me away was the title of the book and the cover art. It just sounded and looked kind of ridiculous so it didn't really pull me to it. It wasn't until I read the book that the reasoning for both the title and the cover are revealed.
This book starts out as a journal from a woman, Kaylee, who is caught in the library in which she works during an invasion of some type. All she knows is that people/creatures dressed in brown suits are killing humans left and right. She barricades herself inside and gives us day to day updates on what goes on. This is done quite well. I felt Kaylee was very real and could relate to her. The second part of the book was after the invasion... much later. In this part, survivors find Kaylee's journal and decide to embark on a quest to find as much information as they can about her. In this part we learn what happened after, we also learn about who/what the invaders were. Lots of info to tie everything together.
Most of the book I loved. There were a few times that it would run on and get too detailed. I ended up skimming those areas but they were few and far between. The other part was the abundant commas and periods throughout the journal part. I'm not sure why this was done? To make it look more realistic? I do not feel that Kaylee would be the type of person to not know her punctuation. She seemed quite intelligent. Both of those issues were minor. Definitely an A+ read. Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion This novel is like two books-in-one. First have an epistolary narrative and the sudden & horrific alien invasion of earth; the 2nd what happened/how it happened. A very clever novel from Kate Boyes indeed. Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion An odd duck of a book that I was 50 pages into three hours ago and have now finished in one long session.

What I thought this was about: Young woman writes journal while trapped in a library during an alien invasion.

What it’s actually about: The above plus afterwords, appendices, and interviews with the people who find her journal years later and decide to find out what happened.

The first part is suspenseful and moving, the second part satisfying - you’re not left wondering about any of the threads left hanging in the earlier part of the book. It’s World War Z, with the near-apocalypse in the background and the interviews, but more personal. Boyes excels at dropping tidbits that you realize the importance of 20 pages later.

Contains: mentions of past rape and human trafficking, child abuse, a parent dying of cancer, the end of the world, up close descriptions of the violent deaths of many, many people, including , cannibals, slavery, infectious illness that causes blindness and people unable to obtain food or water. Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion

A young woman working alone in a small special collections library is trapped in the building when invaders overrun her town. She barricades the doors, peeks through a window, and watches in horror as people are murdered outside. The invaders wear uniforms that cover them completely, making it impossible for her to see their faces. However, she realizes at once that they do not intend to subjugate the population. They intend to annihilate it.
Trapped in the R.A.W. is a journal of the young woman's solitary struggle to protect the books while keeping herself fed, hydrated, warm, and sane. Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences During the Great Invasion