Author Topic: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]  (Read 44274 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
I'm barely 1/3 through this book, but wanted to get this thread started as a place to have a discussion about the story.  There may be plot details revealed, so read at your own risk.

Otherwise, don't feel pressured to structure the conversation in any way.  We can talk about whatever is interesting or confusing.

« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 08:01:51 PM by Heavy G »

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Collapse - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 10:36:47 AM »
I appreciate how the main character's life experiences are explained.  Too many books start out with the protagonist an assumed bad-ass tactical operator, and you've got no back story to validate it.  On the other extreme, some books feature Joe Sixpack who magically rises to the challenge just because the plot needed an underdog hero.  Neither is easy to relate to, and neither is instructional for the reader.

I feel Grant Matson is a legitimate character.  Even someone from the opposite political spectrum should be able to at least understand how/why he became the man he is.  I'm guessing this is deliberate by the author to give credibility to this bigger mission these books are focused on.

That's my biggest take away at this point.  I'm sure I'll return to nitpick technical stuff as I encounter it.  :)

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Collapse - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 08:05:00 PM »

I feel Grant Matson is a legitimate character. 


Yep.  'Cause he's me.  In the books, you'll see Grant do stupid and cowardly things, and you'll see him worry about things that shouldn't matter.  Because that's real. 

You'll also see lots of smart, brave, and mentally tough things.  Because that's real too.

Offline Prepper Press

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 3
  • New TSP Forum member
    • Prepper Press
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 08:10:10 PM »
Smurf Hunter, a.k.a. Gargamel, if you enjoy the book(s), we'd really appreciate your honest review on Amazon and "liking" it on the site as well. This is the single biggest way you could help the series, to get people aware of the need to prep. Because remember, a prepared neighbor, is a good neighbor.

PP

Offline cheryl1

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2319
  • Karma: 79
    • Russell Honey
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 05:35:39 AM »
Maybe it's because I'm a girl, but the relationship between Grant and Lisa really bothered me. I felt so bad for Grant that he couldn't talk to his wife about his new outlook. I found myself rooting for the collapse mainly so that she would wake the f up before they got a divorce, or Grant went crazy. I really wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her! The fact that this frustration came through to the reader is part of what makes this a good book.

I hope this series takes off. I think some grasshoppers will still be uneasy with the large amount of food storage, but the warm-up to weapons was handled nicely. Especially Grant's thoughts on how if a group of men kicked in his door there was NO chance he could stop them. ( Why can't Lisa see that? *growl*)

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 09:20:55 AM »
Smurf Hunter, a.k.a. Gargamel, if you enjoy the book(s), we'd really appreciate your honest review on Amazon and "liking" it on the site as well. This is the single biggest way you could help the series, to get people aware of the need to prep. Because remember, a prepared neighbor, is a good neighbor.

PP

I'm 55% through the first book and will do that when I finish it up.  Probably early next week.

re: "Gargamel" - that was actually a college nickname for me.  Often that is taken on forums, etc. so I came up with "smurf hunter" as an alternate.

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 09:30:58 AM »
Maybe it's because I'm a girl, but the relationship between Grant and Lisa really bothered me. I felt so bad for Grant that he couldn't talk to his wife about his new outlook. I found myself rooting for the collapse mainly so that she would wake the f up before they got a divorce, or Grant went crazy. I really wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her! The fact that this frustration came through to the reader is part of what makes this a good book.

I hope this series takes off. I think some grasshoppers will still be uneasy with the large amount of food storage, but the warm-up to weapons was handled nicely. Especially Grant's thoughts on how if a group of men kicked in his door there was NO chance he could stop them. ( Why can't Lisa see that? *growl*)

My wife's name is "Lisa" and she grew up in Kirkland, WA - which is the city on the northern boundary of Bellevue, WA (where Lisa in the book was from).  Being a resident of the same region there are numerous other boring details I could related to :)

As far as "my" Lisa, we're making slow progress.  My preps have come in handy during winter storms.  So she's on board for that other regional problems.  This last year she got her carry permit and took a women's only gun class.  She's not carrying routinely, (mindset) but knows she immediately could if civil unrest developed, etc.

The best news, I convinced her to read 299 Days.  Now it's 3rd in her personal reading queue, but it's in the queue.  That's big.

Offline chad

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1188
  • Karma: 43
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2012, 06:15:08 PM »
I'm at the point where the "matsons" have just been married...my first thought was... No boom boom.. There had to be boom boom..?  :-*


Offline chad

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1188
  • Karma: 43
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2012, 06:35:21 PM »

I won't read this thread until I read book one, just because I don't want a Spoiler.

But I'll ask questions as I read and then after reading book 1 I'll read the answers to my questions.


Question:

Grant and Lisa are being married... But no mention of grants mom? I understand the no dad.

Offline chad

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1188
  • Karma: 43
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2012, 06:45:42 PM »
After rethinking it.. About the "no mom at the wedding" is it because she was not a very good sheepdog or not a sheepdog at all?

I don't mean to offend.. Just trying to get the most out of the book.

Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 8117
  • Karma: 145
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2012, 07:10:48 PM »
That's sort of explained a little farther into the book.  He doesn't just say "my mother wasn't at the wedding because..."  But the tone of describing his relationship with her says it all.

Offline hedgewitch

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
  • Karma: 5
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2012, 07:34:08 AM »
i have finished book one and nearly finished book two, could not put them down, i got a little frustrated with Lisa also, but i was raised a country girl and cannot imagine that mind set.  i will go on amazon and post

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2012, 08:06:15 AM »
I love that the frustration with Lisa is coming through.  I worked hard to make that happen.

Don't worry: all ten books don't have Lisa being like that.  Books One and Two set the stage for Three through Ten when it comes to Lisa.  *evil laughter because I know what's going to happen*

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2012, 12:07:36 PM »
I love that the frustration with Lisa is coming through.  I worked hard to make that happen.

You sir, are blessed.  My wife ends up frustrated, often with little to no effort from me :)

BTW: I killed off the book late last night while I was finishing up a batch of home brewed beer on the back patio.

Well done.

Offline Chemsoldier

  • Pot Stirrer
  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 5613
  • Karma: 538
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2012, 03:26:34 PM »
Dang you G! I stayed up till 1AM reading, knowing full well a hyperactive 5 year old would wake me too early.  To add insult to injury I have read both books now and want more!  When is the next  two parts coming out?

To G and all the others who have dealt with spouses that are not down with the prepping, my hats are off to you for the efforts you go through.  I am blessed with a spouse who is down with the prepping and likes guns.  I understood that it would be hard to live that dual life, but I didnt really GET IT till I read G's book.

I will be dropping a review on Amazon when I get some more time to type. 

Great work!

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2012, 07:34:53 PM »

When is the next  two parts coming out?


Mid November, 2012.  Thanks for the kind words, Chemsoldier.  A "can't-put-down" book was what I was aiming for.

Offline 16onRockandRoll

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 518
  • Karma: 19
  • Prepper Wannabe
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2012, 09:42:41 PM »
I have openly laughed a few times, My mouth has dropped open at a few times, and I clenched my fist in triumph when, umm, Grant, finally whooped his fathers ass.  Good story G.  Just how autobiographical is this, if you don't mind me asking?

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2012, 12:36:26 AM »

I have openly laughed a few times, My mouth has dropped open at a few times, and I clenched my fist in triumph when, umm, Grant, finally whooped his fathers ass.  Good story G.  Just how autobiographical is this, if you don't mind me asking?


I am trying not to say which things are real and which aren't because when people know something isn't real then it takes away from the story.

The important part about the part of the story you mention is that whipping the father's ass formed Grant's outlook on life.  He realized that (1) he needed to fight to survive because no one will come to help you (like the government) when bad people do bad things, and (2) beating the bad guys feels good. 

Offline Grannywhiskers

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 4
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2012, 03:39:35 PM »
G where was the powdered milk.  It met Grants  criteria and he had children?  Love both books.

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2012, 04:23:53 PM »

G where was the powdered milk.  It met Grants  criteria and he had children?  Love both books.


Great point.  I didn't include it because my kids don't like it, but your post reminds me to get some in my next run to Cash n' Carry.

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2012, 10:19:08 PM »
Heavy G,

Given that so many folks (myself included) have become first time Cash and Carry customer in the past week, do you have any tips?  Perhaps a starter shopping list for new preppers?

This weekend my family went to the C&C up in Kent.  My wife was even excited.  It's unreal what we got for just over $100.  I focus on medium-long term storage items that were easily divisible. 

Thanks

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2012, 07:40:14 AM »
I'm going to C&C this weekend (it looks like) so I can have a pretty precise list in mind when I do.

Send me an email to glentate123@gmail.com and I'll put it in my "to do" folder. 

Anyone else wanting a C&C suggested list can do the same.

Offline PrepperJim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: 54
  • Prepping Means Resiliency and Redundancy
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2012, 05:07:51 PM »
I finished the first book today. I'm going to put a list of questions for Heavy G based on the first book here:

1) In your personal experience, did you have to hide preps from your wife like Grant did in the book? If so, how did you prepare in the face of possibly getting caught at any time? I really would have a hard time hiding my preps from my wife. I have not been entirely open, but I have not hidden anything of substance from her.

2) You talked about choosing a .40 caliber Glock based upon the availability of ammo. Was that the deciding factor? I am thinking about my next gun purchase and would like a .45 Glock. The ammo is about 10% more expensive and I am thinking a .40 might be better. But, I have a 9 mm pistol for conceal-carry and am wondering if I should just stick with a full sized 9 mm pistol or branch out to another caliber.

3) My gun inventory is a .357 revolver, .22 revolver, Rem 870 12 gauge shotgun, .22 10/22 takedown and a 9 mm Kahr PM9. When considering my next purchase, would you recommend a Glock .40 or go for an AR? Of course, my wife would flip out if I brought home an AR, but that is another story....

4) Grant appears to never sleep. Between working, prepping, going to the cabin, hanging out at the gun shop and going to the tactical range, I doubt he had time for anything else. In reality, what Grant did in a short time period would probably take something like 4-5 years. Is this reasonable?

5) Grant started hanging out at the gun store as a way of getting connected with tactical shooters. Is that what you did? How long did it take until you got invited along for a tactical shooting weekend? Would it be better to just take a class and try and meet people that way?

Those are my questions for now. 


Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2012, 05:32:56 PM »
I finished the first book today. I'm going to put a list of questions for Heavy G based on the first book here:

1) In your personal experience, did you have to hide preps from your wife like Grant did in the book? If so, how did you prepare in the face of possibly getting caught at any time? I really would have a hard time hiding my preps from my wife. I have not been entirely open, but I have not hidden anything of substance from her.

2) You talked about choosing a .40 caliber Glock based upon the availability of ammo. Was that the deciding factor? I am thinking about my next gun purchase and would like a .45 Glock. The ammo is about 10% more expensive and I am thinking a .40 might be better. But, I have a 9 mm pistol for conceal-carry and am wondering if I should just stick with a full sized 9 mm pistol or branch out to another caliber.

3) My gun inventory is a .357 revolver, .22 revolver, Rem 870 12 gauge shotgun, .22 10/22 takedown and a 9 mm Kahr PM9. When considering my next purchase, would you recommend a Glock .40 or go for an AR? Of course, my wife would flip out if I brought home an AR, but that is another story....

4) Grant appears to never sleep. Between working, prepping, going to the cabin, hanging out at the gun shop and going to the tactical range, I doubt he had time for anything else. In reality, what Grant did in a short time period would probably take something like 4-5 years. Is this reasonable?

5) Grant started hanging out at the gun store as a way of getting connected with tactical shooters. Is that what you did? How long did it take until you got invited along for a tactical shooting weekend? Would it be better to just take a class and try and meet people that way?

Those are my questions for now.

Regarding an AR - get a stripped lower.  It's cheap, small and the only "legal" part requiring paperwork, etc.  After that you can web order parts as desired.  Not to encourage sneaking around, but in my case asking forgiveness was more expedient than asking permission to build an AR.  I'm actually not done, but have the complete lower and a few other pieces.  I went temporarily grasshopper and spent my extra money on kid activities this past summer :(

Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 8117
  • Karma: 145
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2012, 07:11:05 PM »
Obviously I'm not Heavy G, but I know he preps or prepped in secret.  Here's a thread he started about this, Flip that Spouse.  I'm sure some of your questions are probably in there.

Jack's done several shows with some statistics about the effectiveness of the various calibers.  It's going to be a personal choice.  But based on your current inventory, you may want to consider sticking to the 9mm.  There's something to say about commonality of ammo in your inventory.

Smurf Hunter, you wouldn't happen to have some good links to selecting your stripped lower, would you?

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2012, 09:42:54 PM »

I finished the first book today. I'm going to put a list of questions for Heavy G based on the first book here:

1) In your personal experience, did you have to hide preps from your wife like Grant did in the book? If so, how did you prepare in the face of possibly getting caught at any time? I really would have a hard time hiding my preps from my wife. I have not been entirely open, but I have not hidden anything of substance from her.


Yep, I had to hide them.  I just kept prepping even at the risk of getting caught.  Prepping was more important than getting caught.  Hiding my prepping from her was enormously difficult.  You can see the hardship of hiding things from her in the story.

Quote

2) You talked about choosing a .40 caliber Glock based upon the availability of ammo. Was that the deciding factor? I am thinking about my next gun purchase and would like a .45 Glock. The ammo is about 10% more expensive and I am thinking a .40 might be better. But, I have a 9 mm pistol for conceal-carry and am wondering if I should just stick with a full sized 9 mm pistol or branch out to another caliber.


Availability of ammo was the prime factor in choosing a .40, but I think 9mm is plentiful.  In fact, I think 9mm is perfectly fine.  If you have a 9mm, I would suggest sticking with it.  I am not one of those internet commandos who says that a particular caliber is the be-all and end-all, and that other calibers suck.  9mm does the job just fine and it seems to be much more available than when I wrote those parts of the book.

Quote

3) My gun inventory is a .357 revolver, .22 revolver, Rem 870 12 gauge shotgun, .22 10/22 takedown and a 9 mm Kahr PM9. When considering my next purchase, would you recommend a Glock .40 or go for an AR? Of course, my wife would flip out if I brought home an AR, but that is another story....


Definitely an AR.  Hands down.  No question.

Quote

4) Grant appears to never sleep. Between working, prepping, going to the cabin, hanging out at the gun shop and going to the tactical range, I doubt he had time for anything else. In reality, what Grant did in a short time period would probably take something like 4-5 years. Is this reasonable?


I did all this in a three-year range or so.  I started prepping in the summer of 2008.  I started writing the book in early 2010.  I sleep but I don't do much else other than the activities you mentioned.  I get up at about 4:30 am and go until I drop at about 9:00 pm.  I have a lot to do: getting ready for SHTF, my family, and writing the books.  *shrugs*  It's just how I am.

Quote

5) Grant started hanging out at the gun store as a way of getting connected with tactical shooters. Is that what you did? How long did it take until you got invited along for a tactical shooting weekend? Would it be better to just take a class and try and meet people that way?


I hung out at the gun store because there were lots of cool people.  The real "Chip" has a magnetic personality and I hung out to be around him.  I was hanging out there about six months when I got invited out to shoot. 

I'm not sure how to meet people who are tactical shooters; Chip asking me out to shoot was a fluke (I think it was God who set me on this path).  I wonder if going to IDPA shoots or something similar would be a good way to find fellow preppers.   I don't know how I would have done this if I hadn't run into Chip.

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 6988
  • Karma: 327
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2012, 09:50:37 PM »
Smurf Hunter, you wouldn't happen to have some good links to selecting your stripped lower, would you?

No.  I paid a little more than I had to, but the upside was the lower was machined in the same town I live and I got to shake the man's hand that owned the shop.  I frequently hear rumors of $75 lowers at gun shows, etc.  but in practice seems like you gotta spend $125 to get one that's undoubtedly trusted to not have machine or spec flaws.  For my first build I needed a bit of confidence.  While we're talking ARs, last year during Black Friday sales, I grabbed about 8x 30rnd pmags for $11 each.  Given the current political climate, I probably should've got at least twice as many.  Keep your eyes open for the same this season.

Offline PrepperJim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: 54
  • Prepping Means Resiliency and Redundancy
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2012, 05:11:12 AM »


I did all this in a three-year range or so.  I started prepping in the summer of 2008.  I started writing the book in early 2010.  I sleep but I don't do much else other than the activities you mentioned.  I get up at about 4:30 am and go until I drop at about 9:00 pm.  I have a lot to do: getting ready for SHTF, my family, and writing the books.  *shrugs*  It's just how I am.


Thanks Heavy G.

Offline Heavy G

  • Distorting the Space-Time Continuum
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 6779
  • Karma: 310
  • A misfit ant in a grasshopper world.
    • 299 Days
Re: 299 Days: The Preparation (Book One) - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2012, 08:55:16 PM »

5) Grant started hanging out at the gun store as a way of getting connected with tactical shooters. Is that what you did? How long did it take until you got invited along for a tactical shooting weekend? Would it be better to just take a class and try and meet people that way?


PrepperJim:  I have a few more thoughts on this. Sorta.  I just talked to the real Pow.  He agrees with me that there isn't any magical formula for meeting guys and forming a team.  It just happens.  He said that the key is like-minded people hanging out and if a team forms, it forms.  Sorry that that's vague, but I wanted to give you Pow's thoughts on this.

Offline Nadir_E

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 699
  • Karma: 36
  • Win some, learn some.
Re: 299 Days: The Collapse - book discussion [SPOILER ALERT]
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2012, 09:50:49 PM »
I appreciate how the main character's life experiences are explained.  Too many books start out with the protagonist an assumed bad-ass tactical operator, and you've got no back story to validate it.  On the other extreme, some books feature Joe Sixpack who magically rises to the challenge just because the plot needed an underdog hero.  Neither is easy to relate to, and neither is instructional for the reader.

I couldn't agree more.  I recently quit reading a post-apocalyptic novel (very early on, actually) when the protagonist, who knew he needed to lose weight and quit smoking, out-ran an Army patrol in a HMMWV.  If that wasn't the author dreaming that rather than get in shape now, he'd just "rise to the occasion" when the SHTF, I don't know what is.  That kind of "I'll fix it later" thinking is going to get a lot of people killed (que Zombieland over-write - Rule Number 1: Cardio).

That Grant goes through the evolution from slug to physically capable I think is very important.  People who choose to follow in his footsteps will learn a critical lesson - one I learned personally.  You CAN change your life.  There is a tendency to accept things the way they are rather than make them as they should be.  Eating right and exercising become empowering and WILL lead to other changes (ask me how I know).

Long-winded way of saying I found Grant very believable and the life he was living (i.e. spousal / child issues) equally so.  That makes much of the rest of the story more readily digestible.

Quote
I feel Grant Matson is a legitimate character.  Even someone from the opposite political spectrum should be able to at least understand how/why he became the man he is.  I'm guessing this is deliberate by the author to give credibility to this bigger mission these books are focused on.

That's my biggest take away at this point.  I'm sure I'll return to nitpick technical stuff as I encounter it.  :)

Given some of the shenanigans we've seen in government over the past several decades, the corruption depicted there is probably on the light side. :D

I didn't find any technical issues over which to quibble, just the odd typo here or there.  I DID find a kick in the pants about a few areas of my own preps where I'd been procrastinating.  In that way it was a little spendy to read the book! ;D

One area where I wonder how I'd handle things compared to Grant is the BOL.  I have a very large extended family and a larger group of friends, many of whom know I prep.  I have often gotten the "if the SHTF I'm coming to your house!" remark, to which I nervously smirk.  Now that I'm actually contemplating a land purchase for BOL / vacation purposes, though, I know it could never be big enough for all those people.  Disclosing that purchase (if, God willing it happens), will be a real hurdle for me.  I know the character expresses concern about disclosing his and even leads Pow to the BOL in a roundabout way for security reasons.  I wonder if I'd go a step further and keep some of the preps hidden on/around the property, even from those invited to visit.

-N