Matthew’s Letter Essay #2: The Compound

Recently I have read The Compound is a 341 page science fiction book published in 2008 by S.A. Bodeen, an interesting book, about a boy named Eli, who during the story has been locked underground in a Compound by his father, during nuclear war. Once inside they need to survive for 15 years, but food and water are scarce, and things begin to seem suspicious in the Compound. I decided to read this book, because S.A. Bodeen was coming for an author visit, and I have a tradition of writing the author’s book when they visit.

In The Compound Eli, the main character, is bored of the dull life in the compound. While he is locked underground, playing with an ancient laptop, near his father’s office, he notices he has been given internet connection. According to his father no one else is left outside, so in general this is pretty tough on Eli. But now, he is faced with a tough decision, he can tell his family, or keep a life saving secret.

If I were the author, I would have changed the way the book ended, by making it less predictable In the end of the book, Eli uncovers that his father had locked them underground, as an experiment. In the end, Eli attacks his father and allows them to escape, and safely return home. I believe that the ending of the story was very predictable, and was a “disney ending”, where everything turned out alright, and they were all good and safe. I would have made it so that in the end, the world really had been in a nuclear war, causing Eli to feel super guilty, and putting his family at risk. That would have been an amazing cliffhanger.

I really liked the heavy description that the author used, to really paint that picture, for example: “My secret stash of candy ran out years ago, but I still remember the crinkly silver wrapper, and the rich chocolate of my Snickers bars”,(37). I really like that line, because at the time I was hungry, but I also believe that it is very meaningful, as it shows us that overtime, they lost more of what they loved, while being prisoners of The Compound.

Overall I believe that S.A. Bodeen’s The Compound is a very emotional story that really moves you as you read it. She overall does a good job and leaving the reader on the edge of their seat, I always found the urge to drop what I was doing, and read more. The characters are very easy to get immersed into and gets the creative juices in your brain flowing. Overall I would give this book a 9/10 for great plot and story, and would recommend it to any friend.

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10 thoughts on “Matthew’s Letter Essay #2: The Compound

  1. Dear Matt,
    I liked the quoted passage you included in your letter essay. Good choice. I can relate to that quote and I like how you explained it.


  2. Dear Matt,
    I really liked how you analyzed the author’s work to find something that you would have liked her to have done. I myself have done that many times and I sometimes pictured what would happen if it were that way. One thing to add though, is to maybe elaborate a little more on the quotes passage you chose. More on why it was so meaningful. If you were to add that, then I think you would be very successful in your writing.

  3. Dear Matt,

    I liked your essay It was very good, I just wish there was a little more description. I have read this book I would also give it a 9/10 it was a good book but not good enough for a 10/10.

    Birch Kellogg

  4. Dear Matt,
    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay! I thought it was very good. I liked how you decided to read this book by SA Bodeen because she was coming to visit at out school. I think this letter essay could of been a little more descriptive, but overall nice job on it!

    Lucy Witherbee!

  5. Salutations Matthew, (don’t judge me I wanted to be different)
    I liked your letter essay a lot. I really liked how you took a line that was talking about how Eli ran out of Snickers years ago and turned it into a metaphor about being trapped in the Compound. I would suggest not giving away the ending of the book to us in your next letter essay because these letter essays might get someone else to read the book. (But let’s face it, everyone was reading the Compound recently.) But other than that and the missing period in the 3rd paragraph, this was a very good letter essay.

  6. Dear Matt,

    I liked the letter essay. It was fun to read. I liked the quoted passage and why you liked it saying that you were hungry. I do think you need a more detailed summary though, because I still don’t know much about it.


  7. Dear Matt,
    Your essay was great. I can tell you put effort into writing it. One thing I liked was your quoted passage of choice. Overall, maybe a tiny bit more description, but you still did great and I enjoyed reading your essay!


  8. Hullo Matt,

    Your Essay was good. I really liked how it you said that it had a “Disney ending” and I very agree with you that the book felt like it was written for a Disney movie.

    Yoi Boi, Danylo Ribchinski

    The Ukrainian who is 6 feet and 2 inches tall (187.5 cm), who likes programming and wants to become a programmer. He also loves MEMES.

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