Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Summary: 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.
This book was quite popular a while back (actually six years back :O) and it isn't until now that I've finally gotten the book into my hands and read it. I have to say, I find YA post-apocalyptal fiction more amusing than thought-provoking. Before I read books, I usually check out their reviews just to see the opinions people have on the novel. Many reviewers commented on the fact that this book helped them realize how unprepared they are for the end of the world. I laughed reading those comments. Life As We Knew It (and other post-apocalyptal novels) interest us because we are all afraid of oblivion. We have to understand everything and control everything. But these books are nothing but made-stories; catered to satisfy our never-ending curiosity. They can never prepare us enough and shouldn't be taken seriously, or marked as "eye-opening" and "overwhelming".
Gah. In fact, this book was plain boring. And claustrophobic. The entire book was centered on a family stuck inside their house with limited food supply. I know this book was supposed to be more of an internal, isolated view of the world ending, hence the diary format- but I was just so disappointed. The sixteen year-old writing the diary sounds more like a twenty year-old and makes the entire story lag. All the diary entries sounded something like this: Today, we only ate one meal and it snowed six more inches. The pantry is emptying quickly. We are going to die soon. Sighhhh... Also, Miranda included many details and whole dialogues of the day into her diary. Realistically speaking, no one recalls their entire day like a novel. The diary aspect should have been taken more into consideration.
Life As We Knew It was annoyingly predictable and anti-clamactic. There is no suspense, no plot, no plot twists, no excitement... As soon as a problem came up (i.e. starvation, flu) some unrealistic solution revealed itself. Also, I couldn't understand why some obvious problems were not discussed in the novel. For example- In the series Gone, starvation is a big issue. Kids begin to steal and even murder other teenagers for food. How come desperate families in this book don't run around looting other people's houses? Again, not realistic.
The one thing I think that was completely unexpected was that by the last few chapters, I still cared about Miranda and her family. The plot may have been boring, but there's nothing like an apocalypse to make you care about fictional characters! I'm not sure if I'll read the rest of the series. From the reviews I've read, the books only get worse... :/
2/5 due to predictable and unrealistic first person narrations. The whole narration with a diary was annoyingly anti-climactic and written like a novel instead of a personal recount.
Posted by angelaf