Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Harcourt, Inc./Young Adult Fiction
Right now I'm reading about the American Revolution.
The soldiers had a tough time of it at Valley Forge.
My heart bleeds for them. [p. 276]
6-word review: Moon's orbit altered by meteor; disaster!
A great deal has been said about this post-apocalyptic young adult novel in the blog world, lately. I'm not sure I have much to add, but I really enjoyed Life as We Knew It, in spite of the fact that the word "harrowing" describes it well. The book is told from the viewpoint of Miranda, in journal form, and was written in a more simplistic form than I anticipated. But I thought it worked for the journal of a teenager. There's the usual teen angst before the meteor hits; and then, the world becomes a different place as the moon's changed orbit sets off immediate tidal waves that cause massive devastation, followed by volcanoes, earthquakes and dramatic climate change.
Why on earth do some of us enjoy post-apocalyptic literature? My viewpoint: The end of life as we know it is an endlessly fascinating "What if?" that can be imagined from numerous angles and really makes you ponder the skills we've lost, what we would have to learn to get by, how we would cope as individuals in a time of disaster, and just how bad it could really get.
Anyone who lived throught the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina or has been through some other major natural disaster (tsunami, earthquake, flood -- there have been plenty, in recent years) can probably relate Life As We Knew It on some level. I found myself reflecting back to our time without power, cell and telephone service after Katrina. The inability to find out what the heck happened out there; the panic as reality set in; the discomfort and boredom; the mile-long gas lines, fights over gasoline and the eventual dollar limits and security; the empty grocery shelves and bare freezers, immediately stripped as they were stocked . . . all of that happens in Life as We Knew It, just as it happened in real life.
The only thing I didn't like about the book: The two Christian characters in the book were portrayed pretty much as a lunatic and a greedy . . . um, bastard. Not sure how else to describe the minister, but he was really nasty and Miranda's friend Megan was just flat delusional. Faith is not always radical and I really find it horrifying when belief in God is portrayed in such a narrow way.
3.5/5 - Worth reading because it makes you think.
Other reviews, here: