Monday, January 31, 2011

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda is just a regular old high school student when the unthinkable happens: a meteor hits the moon, knocking it closer to the Earth.  This causes dramatic changes in weather patterns.  Tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes hit all over the world.  The temperature climbs, and then becomes terribly cold.  With no electricity, and no food coming in, Miranda's family struggles to stay alive through the winter, as their stores of food steadily dwindle.  They try to cling to hope that things will get better, but no one is sure if they will.

This was very interesting.  And I liked it.  It was different from other disaster books (and movies).  Usually, something large and dramatic happens (meteor hits the Earth, massive earthquake, alien attack) and our hero is called on to do something heroic and save people, and at the end of the book we know that things are going to be OK.

This was quite a bit different.  Life As We Knew It is written through Miranda's journal entries, and she's recording her daily life, which is not exciting.  Not exciting at all.  She isn't doing anything big and heroic, and neither is anyone in her family, aside from surviving day by day.  She writes about being scared and sick and frustrated and feeling trapped.  Learning that people she knows have died, having people she cares about leave in the hopes of finding something better.  It's just daily life in extreme circumstances, and it was really compelling.  She's dealing with huge issues like finding enough food, but she's also a teenage girl and she fights with her mom about little things and wishes the boy she liked hadn't had to go away.

As I neared the end, I was really wondering where Pfeffer was going to leave us.  It didn't look like it was going to end with a big happy conclusion and everyone being saved, and I'm glad.  That would have felt wrong after the realism of the situations Miranda describes.  I got closer and closer to the end, and it didn't seem to be coming to any kind of resolution.  I think it ended the best way it could have.  There wasn't really an end point.  They made it through the winter, good.  Now they have to keep on living and hope that life will improve.  An excellent look at survival.

I'm unsure about the science, however.  First of all, if a meteor hit the moon, you wouldn't be able to tell that the moon was closer to the Earth right away, right?  Because, you know, the moon is far away and it takes a while for light to get to our eyes, etc.  The moon effects the tides, so tsunamis seem reasonable, what about the other stuff?  The volcanoes and so forth?  And would they lose all electricity for that long?  I have questions, I need a scientist.

1 comment:

  1. You know that this is the first in a series right? I've heard that the rest of the series is equally as good.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...