Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It 
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Published: December 2005
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available: Amazon


Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.


I am a huge fan of disaster flicks, but disaster books? I'd never really tried until this one. The library steered me towards this one by Susan Beth Pferrer with one of their "If you liked Hunger Games then you might like this" fliers, and I'm glad it did.

One thing that I liked about this story is that it's not about how people immediately become raving animals, raiding, raping and destroying everything. People are scared, and yes there's a bit of panic, but there is also a need for order and normalcy. I read one review of this book that said they couldn't believe that there would be school, etc. But honestly that is what people would expect. I have taught during natural disasters. When Hurricane Ike hit Houston a few years back, our school opened only a couple of days after despite the fact that 80% of the city still didn't have electricity and was still flooded. Parents sent their children to school because it was dry, safe, and a place to get two meals a day.

I wasn't too sure about the diary style at first especially since it felt more like I was being told instead of shown, but Pfeffer manages to make Miranda an interesting enough story teller to keep me going. What was interesting about Miranda is that I didn't actually like her, despite having to listen to her the entire book. And I think it's because she was still relatable. She whines and complains a lot, she slacks off and complains so more, but she's also trying to figure out how to hold herself together when the world is falling apart around her. She is selfish, and she does stupid selfish things, but they are things teenagers do because they are still kids who are learning.

I read this book a while back and it still sticks with me. Not the specific details, but definitely the ending. And considering what a selfish character Miranda shows herself to be throughout most of the book, the ending made me feel really sad for her. This is the first in a trilogy and I was originally very eager to read the next two books. I even picked up the second one and made it through the first couple of chapters before I stopped. It wasn't bad, but I don't think it was really a story I needed to keep going.

1 comment:

  1. hmn. Journal style..... Meh, I still want to read it. Thank you for this review. Very helpful. I think I will also pick this up from a library instead of buying it, though. Just to be safe. (: Thanks for commenting on Facebook.