Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

Summary:  When Miranda first hears the warnings that a meteor is headed on a collision path with the moon, they just sound like an excuse for extra homework assignments.  But her disbelief turns to fear in a split second as the entire world witnesses a lunar impact that knocks the moon closer in orbit, catastrophically altering the earth's climate.

Everything else in Miranda's life fades away as supermarkets run out of food, gas goes up to more than ten dollars a gallon, and school is closed indefinitely.

But what Miranda and her family don't realize is that the worst is yet to come.

Told in Miranda's diary entries, this is a heart-pounding account of her struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar time.  (Summary from book jacket and image from

My Review:  I can't help but feel this book is too creepy to be enjoyed.  What are the chances that a meteor could knock the moon off its orbit enough to affect the world?  That is a question I'm not sure I really want to contemplate.  But, with that spark of thought, it opens up a wide range of possibilities, all with consequences I have a hard time combining with the realities of raising my small family.

Miranda's family and their progress through this book is very realistic.  The depictions of Miranda's envy of her younger brother's food consumption,  her mother's desire to keep them all alive but putting more emphasis on Jon (her younger brother), their reactions to the latest downfall to their predicament all felt so very true for a teenage girl and her perspective of her family.  I was amazed at her mother's foresight.  I was impressed by the family's loyalty and work ethic.  I cannot imagine going through such an ordeal.

I cannot say I raced through this book.  In fact, I was rather slow in the beginning to trudge through the pages.  I knew it was only going to get worse.  It can be hard to want to know what is coming when you know it has to be bad.  By the last third, as is typical of me, I was racing to finish.  I just had to know if it had a happy ending.  It's not peaches and cream ending, but it didn't leave me upset.  I refuse to ruin it for you.

I'm not sure I'll recommend this to my students.  I'd have to know the reader was strong to start and had an interest in end-of-the-world situations.  Otherwise, I think it would just freak them out.

One thing I do know, I want more food storage and think I'll keep more basic necessities on hand...just in case.

Rating:  3.75  For sensitive readers: There is persistent swearing, of the Bible variety, but since it's a young adult book I felt it necessary to note.

Sum it up: Although an end-of-the-world scenario type book, it really had me thinking about emergency preparedness and just what it would take to live through a worldwide catastrophe.


Keary Taylor said...

You know, this was actually my favorite book I read last year. It was just so REAL feeling. We had a day up here that was super grayish on the day that I read about the volcano's erupting and it kinda freaked me out, lol. Like you, I really had the urge to get into emergency prepardness after reading it. I do have to say though that I didn't enjoy the last 2 books in the series though. The ending really frustrated me. But this one has stuck with me for a really long time.

Heather said...

We listened to this book during a car trip a couple years ago and I still think of it frequently. It does have such a realistic essence to it. I don't know how you can walk away from this book without longing to better equip yourself in case of disaster.

Amy said...

Ugh, I hated this book. I thought the ending was a little too perfect...but I can't defend why here or I'll spoil it.

TisforTonya said...

I read this and immediately upgraded my food storage...

as Amy said though... a little too perfect of an ending... of course, the sequels more than make up for that... really!!!

This was my favorite of the series though... even though it had me wondering about the science of it... and what would REALLY happen in that situation.

doesn't matter what WOULD happen, I'll still have my #10 cans of dried apples to keep me company :)


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