Malibu Burning

The Real Story Behind LA's Most Devastating Wildfire

Non-Fiction - Drama
262 Pages
Reviewed on 12/06/2019
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Author Biography

Robert Kerbeck is the founder of the Malibu Writers Circle and a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. He fought the 2018 Woolsey Fire with his wife and son to save their home. Based on that experience, comes his debut book, Malibu Burning: The Real Story Behind LA's Most Devastating Wildfire. Malibu Burning won the 2020 IPPY award as the Silver Medalist in Creative Nonfiction and the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Award as the Silver Medalist in Nonfiction Drama. Malibu Burning was also a Finalist for Foreword Book of the Year and Winner of the Best of LA Award. Chapters from Malibu Burning have been excerpted in Los Angeles Magazine, Shondaland, and the Los Angeles Times. Robert has been featured on television and radio discussing California's epidemic of wildfires and how to minimize the damage from them. His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Normal School, Atticus Review, Cimarron Review, Gargoyle, Cream City Review, upstreet, Tahoma Literary Review, Zone 3, and The MacGuffin. One of his stories was adapted into the award winning film, Reconnected.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Malibu Burning: The Real Story behind LA's Most Devastating Wildfire by Robert Kerbeck is a heartbreaking story that captures one of the devastating events in LA County, CA. The Woolsey Fire, which started in the mountains above Malibu in the early morning on Friday, November 9, 2018, turned out to be the worst fire LA County has ever seen and one of the most destructive blazes in California history. The author gives a first-person witness account of the fire and how it affected the earthly paradise of multi-million-dollar mansions and home to celebrities. Readers are pulled in from the very first page as they read about the author and his family's shock and experiences. A disturbing sense of danger grips readers from the very start of the story and follows them as they turn from page to page.

Malibu Burning is a poignant memoir that shows every indication of a well-researched work. The author weaves his personal experience of the tragedy into the narrative and gives readers an understanding of the pain of survivors and the loss that many experienced, including celebrities like Julia Roberts, Bob Dylan, and many others. In this book, the reader encounters a community united in tragedy with people who fought for their lives and their loved ones. The opening lines give a strong warning that already prepares the reader for the horrific experience to come: "Few things in this world will forever change you like the terror of thinking you’re about to be burned alive in front of your kid.” Robert Kerbeck writes in a voice that is compassionate and gripping. This book documents one of the life-changing moments in the history of Malibu.