I had heard so many good things about Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer that I couldn’t stick to my New Year’s resolution to not read any books other than ARCs until I’m all caught up. Maybe next year’s resolution should be self-control.
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is narrated by 16-year-old Miranda, who’s just started keeping a diary when an asteroid hits the moon and moves the moon closer to the earth, changing the earth’s climate. ACK! Silly scientists knew the asteroid would hit the moon, but no one knew that it would shift the moon closer to earth. Massive flooding from tsunamis and tidal waves destroy the eastern seaboard. Electricity starts going out as storms rage through the country.
The day after the moon is shoved closer to earth, Miranda still goes to school, but her mom pulls her out after a few hours so they can stock up on food. (Note to self: remember to run to the grocery store STAT in the event of a catastrophe.) They go to the store because food is being sold for $100 for everything you can put in a shopping basket. Miranda’s mother makes them stock up on all they can possibly cram into their car. These supplies, along with a few other gifts they receive, help the family survive through a horrible winter with no electricity.
This is a fantastic and compelling book. I loved Miranda’s diary entries; you watch her evolve from being a whiny teenager to a responsible adult. You see the family bond as they do their best to survive this catastrophe. You see how great people can be.
I saw a lot of similarities between Life as We Knew It and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Where The Road did a belly flop, Life as We Knew It did an Olympics worthy dive (with very little splash!). And all the while I was thinking, This is, like, a young adult book and it’s like totally deeper than, like, The Road. What worked in Life as We Knew It was that it’s a fairly simple story; a few things are repeated over and over and over, keeping those things at the forefront of my mind. On almost every page, food is mentioned. I never forget that they’re rationing their food and just trying to survive. I never forget that they’re hungry and scared. I didn’t feel like The Road showed the natural disaster (or whatever it was) in such a way that I could relate. But could I relate to a 16-year-old girl who’s tired of having green beans for dinner, who’s tired of having to be careful about all their supplies? Heck yes!
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HOARDING CANNED GOODS. This book will only make that problem worse.
Rating: 95 out of 100
Other (probably better) reviews:
Things Mean a Lot
Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Books on the Brain
an adventure in reading
Experiments in Reading
Bookfoolery and Babble
The Sleepy Reader
the hidden side of a leaf
Becky’s Book Reviews
A Patchwork of Books
It’s All About Books
nothing of importance
The Page Flipper
The Story Siren