Reading The Things That Keep Us Here, there's the sense of living in the house with Peter and Ann as they experience the uncertainty of trying to survive through a pandemic. Tensions run high. I felt tense throughout the reading of the book, too.
What the book failed to do was to create a sense of the sheer terror of a true pandemic. It's clear things are very bad. It's just that, in reality, things likely would be even worse. Food and other basic necessities surely would run out even sooner; gangs and looting surely would be rampant in the suburbs, as well as in urban centers; rodents, mentioned as a possibility that never materializes, surely would be a reality. While the book did make me feel I was experiencing the pandemic as the characters faced it, it could have gone further in depicting a more terrifying - and likewise more realistic - situation.