Friday, July 17, 2009

BR: Life As We Knew It


by: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Second book I read today, aren't you guys happy it's not as hot out that I can actually write some reviews now? I know, you guys don't care, since you guys don't exist... *sniff*

Life As We Knew It is a science-fiction novel set in the future, when an asteroid hits the moon and causes the moon to get "messed up". The moon's gravitational pull on Earth changes greatly, causing all sorts of natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and more diseases that the world definitely wasn't prepared for.

16 year old Miranda and her family have to survive the new, chaotic weather (like 100 degrees in July, frost in August), while living on canned goods they stockpiled when the asteroid first struck. At the beginning, everyone thinks that the conditions will only improve, and things will be back to normal, but they learn that this is not the case. With many countries already wiped out completely, and horrible climates across the United States, many people are moving, hoping for some luck or better conditions. Miranda and her family stay put in Pennsylvania, and the novel is basically Miranda's diary, depicting her day-to-day struggles, having to adjust to her new environment. She lives on only two meals a day, fasting, or eating every-other-day, while worrying about her brothers and mother. Sure, it's unfair, but Miranda is strong and brave enough to tough it out, sacrificing for her family.

I liked this novel, because it made me "think". Like not as in the philosophy thinking and stuff, but it made me wonder what it would be like today if everything suddenly changed, with no electricity, phones, internet, or natural gas. I can see the rush and frenzy to stockpile goods from the supermarket, and after reading, I really really appreciated food. And all the other stuff that I (and I think a lot of people) take for granted. Reading about how Miranda struggles to deal with these "essentials" suddenly taken away makes me think whether or not I would survive in her place.

I loved Miranda. Shes brave, caring, strong, and realistic. She willingly cuts down on her food intake in hopes the family will live longer, and she loves her family very much. She's a survivor.

I also liked Miranda's family, from her mother, who only eats one meal a day and constanly worries, to her baseball-obsessed brother who matures and takes responsibility. Her older brother also takes care of the family by working himself to exhaustion every day.

8/10 - because I'm never really one for science fiction novels, but I managed to enjoy this one. I didn't love it, and it wasn't "captivating" to me, but I think it holds a lot of appeal to different people. I know people who would probably gobble this up. I liked the characters, and I felt the diary entries were interesting and thought-provoking. I honestly don't think I would be able to survive the conditions Miranda's family did, and I greatly admire Miranda's strength. I would recommend this to people who like science-fiction, or end-of-worlders (EOW, from Truth about Forever =P)

The novel is part of a trilogy, I believe, and the next book is called "The Dead & The Gone". Do you think you would survive if your world got turned upside-down, kind of literally, kind of figuratively?

--AyC


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