Sunday, January 24, 2010

Life As We Knew It

Life as We Knew It
Susan Beth Pfeffer
YA fiction
This book was intense. Written in diary style from the point of view of a 16 year old girl, we watch as events unfold, the world suffers disasters of immense proportions and Miranda's family deals with the fall-out.
The book begins with people excitely looking forward to watching an asteroid hit the moon. Personally, I would have nervous about this from the beginning, but everyone from astrologists, to scientists down to regular folk look at it as nothing more that viewing a comet. Everyone treats this like watching a firework show, or an meteor shower. Of course things don't turn out like everyone thinks it will. The meteor is denser than every thinks and knocks the moon off it's orbit. By the cover you can see that the moon is very close to the earth now.
Miranda, her brothers (Matt, Jonny) and mother go from hopeful optimism to concern to despair. There are horrible things happening around the world - tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. Of course this knocks out all kinds of things we take for granted. Electricity, food supplies, gas, anything we take for granted, all fail.
Even though the book was intense, and a little horrific for me. there were examples of human spirit, hopefulness, caring and the core strength that most people have. Even though horrible things are happening, Miranda's family sticks together. It's not all wonderful, they argue and have bad feelings at times, but they stick together along with their close neighbor, an elderly woman (Mrs Nesbitt).
If you're too sensitive or find yourself having panic attacks about disasters and the end of the world type of thng, don't read this. But it is a good book, and couched in a fiction novel are all kinds of things we have to think about if we go through disasters - major disasters. There won't automatically be help for us. That was proven during Hurrican Katrina, and again in Haiti. People have to depend on themselves. Cell phones won't work, landlines might, but not certain. If you have a phone that plugs into an electric socket, don't count on it. No internet. (I'm going to find a small radio and keep batteries in the house.)
However, threaded through this book, as dark as things became for Miranda's family and the other people in the world, a little bit of hope shines through.
Even though I was bothered by the thought of this happening for real, or something like it-global disasters (god, none of us are really prepared!) I did enjoy this book. I think Ms Pfeffer did a wonderful job unfolding events through Miranda's diary.
** edited - There are two sequels to this novel, one showing a different aspect of this same disaster. The Dead and Gone has already come out. The World We Live In will be released in March 31, 2010 and is a continuation of Life as We Knew It.
Book Challenges:


  1. World disaster from three points of view! Disaster books/movies always make me think how unprepared I am.

  2. yes. You would think that we all would pay more attention to these things. I don't have the money to stock pile supplies....It boggles the mind.

    Hey, what if you were a renter (like me) and there was a disaster, the landowner's house fell and they want the place you rent back. See- I worry about all kinds of things, but don't do anything about it.

    I should start buying water.