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The World As We Know It

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  909 ratings  ·  186 reviews
A lifetime of friendship begins the day brothers Ed and Allard save Sarah from drowning in an icy river near their rural New Hampshire home. Though their paths diverge through the years, the connection between the three endures until a heartbreaking tragedy in the remote mountains of Wyoming forces Sarah and Allard to confront the unthinkable. In their grief, they find the ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Gallery Books (first published June 1st 2011)
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Three words: Book Club Book. Or rather, two words, one used twice.

So I read the book description and I read the book club questions at the end of the book and I've concluded that neither scratches the surface of the book's heart.

Part I is the uncomplicated beginnings of the Ed/Allard/Sarah team. Ed and Allard are brothers who share a close, companionable relationship. They sleep in a cold room (mirroring the outdoors) under a large Canadian map and spend their days outside on the Baker River wh
Linda Robinson
This book is a life experience. Allard, Ed, Sarah and their parents are so real I am tempted to walk over the hill and take them some vegetables I picked today. A writing gift can be many parts - some can write scenery that you swear you have a photograph of; some can create dynamic tension like a bow string pulled taut. Dialogue. Like you're sitting in a tent with an ice storm raging outside, trying to tell your pain without causing any more. Monninger is brilliant. Every detail is essential, t ...more
I'd like to review this as if it were two books. The first half of the book is a beautiful coming-of-age story of three kids growing up in rural New Hampshire. It tells the story of two brothers and the girl they meet by rescuing her.

If only this book were a short story that ended half way through! Why why why was the second half written? The blurb already refers to a "heart breaking tragedy" and the aftermath. The whole thing felt so unnecessary, and the ending just felt implausible to me.

So if
Sheila Guevin
The book really fit into the cold winter spell we are in. Hiking, skating, ice, and documentaries about wild animals all fit into the a day where the high temp is 15 degrees.

What ruined the book for me is the synopsis. There is a pivotal event and the event was in a preview of the book. So I read the book waiting for the other shoe to drop, which ruined the flow for me.

I would still recommend the book, but suggest that you don't read a single word about it and don't read the jacket. Just read th
Erin Rogers
A love story set in a small town in rural New Hampshire, The World As We Know It was a good read, but a bit cheesy for me. Young brothers Ed and Allard rescue a little girl, Sarah, who falls through the ice on the river, and the connection between the three kids develops into a life-long friendship. When Allard and Sarah begin dating, the three remain thick as thieves, dreaming of starting their own wildlife film company. Life is full of domestic peace, adolescent adventures, and hope for the fu ...more
Christy Sibila
The world that Monninger describes is the ethereal, natural world of rural New Hampshire, mountainous Wyoming, and wild Canada. It is also the world of a blissful childhood unmarred by unhappiness, and a first love that is both quiet and frenzied, in only the best of ways. In fact, everything is perfect, all the time. So perfect in fact, that when tragedy finally strikes 158 pages into the book, it is a welcome break from all the perfectness. The book is able to move a bit deeper here, as the ma ...more
Kirstie Welford
The rural NH setting made this coming of age story of the 3 main characters believable. I wish the author hadn't alluded to the tragedy that sets the stage for the second half of the book. This was a very slow paced read and getting to that point without expecting it may have may have made it a bit more exciting. Overall, an enjoyable story about love, family, friendship, death and grieving.
I enjoyed this book over Christmas break. My favorite aspect was the appreciation the author had for nature throughout this book. He showed great respect for the outdoors and what it lends to our life experiences. It really helped me stay with the characters as the story unfolded. The early chapters of the book were among my favorite.
I enjoyed reading about the ice and the river and the wildlife as much, if not more than, about hearing Allard and Sarah's stories. I loved the dynamic between All
Martha Newman
This was a sweet story, lyrically written in such a way as to make the landscape a part of the story. However, I didn't really believe the way he completely fell apart after his brother dies--this guy was a secure, well-loved younger son in an intact, loving family. He would not have run away--he would have taken his brother's body home to his parents, talked to his fiance, gone through the whole funeral ritual before going off to get his shit together.

Here is the synopsis from Amazon--I always
Marie desJardins
I really enjoyed this book. The first half is a lyrical, gentle story of young love. It's sweet and maybe unrealistically innocent, but I was in the mood for sweet and innocent. The writing is evocative but not overly "literary" and draws you into the lives of the main characters -- Allard, his brother Ed, and Allard's "love at first sight," Sarah. The second part of the book is heartwrenching and in some ways hard to read, because you so want everybody to stay perfectly young and perfectly happ ...more
The story is told in three parts. The first part is about Allard and Edward Keer, young brothers exploring their surroundings in a rural community of New Hampshire. They imagine a future working together, at the helm of a film company and dream of being able to ice skate all the way to Canada. They are really nice young men with all the right wholesome values. They love the outdoors and appreciate its majesty. One day, when 14 year old Allard and 16 year old Edward were out ice skating, they res ...more
Abby Powell
I wanted to like this book, but I never really developed strong feelings for the characters. Most of all, as a biologist, it ticked me off that the author took on the subjects of nature and wildlife documentaries without doing basic research. As a result there are glaring errors that just made me discount a lot of the storytelling.
Outstanding story about the power of your first love. I'm obviously a sucker for this type of story....;)
Unlike a book I recently finished where I couldn't stand any of the 4 main characters, I adored every character no matter how small their role in this book. I was pulling for Al and Sarah after page 2. Very well done!
Started out alright but lost momentum. The one saving grace was the setting. An amateur-ish foreshadowing pops up randomly and obviously. Cute story, but there was little to no character development. Sarah is beautiful. Ed is an outdoorsman. Allard is....?? Storyline was pretty flat.
I loved this book. It was a bit cheesy at times but I loved the characters and the story. The love of family, animals and nature were a theme throughout. I rarely cheer for such an obvious love match but these characters were irresistible.
Trite, inauthentic characters with plot devices written solely to
manipulate the readers' emotions; to borrow a phrase "untrue and unkind." I do not recommend this book because you will gain no enrichment from the time spent.
I liked this book, it was not an earthshaking work, burt a nice read. Ed, Allard, Sarah and their families seem like just regular people living in New England. But they are not the usual folks you meet. Allard's dad makes bass violins from trees in the forest that he sells to professional musicians. Sarah's family have moved to the area after winning the lottery.

The lives of Ed, Allard and Sarah become intertwined after the boys save Sarah's life when they come upon her after she has fallen th
Shannon White
As published in Localiez magazine (

This novel begins with Ed and Allard, two brothers, whose goal is to skate to Canada. Although they don't discover the land of polar bears and igloos that they were looking for, they do stumble upon something much more important - a girl that had fallen through the ice. The brothers place themselves in jeopardy in order to rescue Sarah and a lifetime friendship is born. As the years progress, the brothers grow up with Sarah as an integral part
Mandy's Review:

Do you recall sitting in your high school English class and your teacher telling you that you would be reading a classic. Perhaps it was A Tale of Two Cities. Maybe it was The Giver or The Scarlet Letter. Do you recall how you felt while reading a story that was written so long ago, the pages yellowed with age? I have no doubt that The World as We Know It will be a classic that is read by English students years from now. The flow of the story and the way it read was reminiscent of
It's clear that Joseph Monninger has both a deep love and connection to the rural New England landscape and the setting alone captured my attention. Brothers, Ed and Allard Keer set out one day to skate the frozen rivers to Canada. On their journey, they rescue a girl (Sarah) who has fallen through the thin part of the ice. This fateful day changes their lives forever. Allard and Sarah share an instant connection and a moment of destiny. Their lives become intertwined against an idyllic setting. ...more
Edward and his brother Allard can remember their father telling them stories of Canada and the polar bears. He would talk for hours and they would go over a map. It got to be to the point that Ed and Allard decided that they could state from one frozen river to the next, until they made their way to Canada. On the day that Allard and Ed set out , they came upon a girl in trouble. The girl had fallen though the ice into the icy water. Ed and Allard saved her. The girl is named Sarah. From this da ...more
How do you react to unexpected tragedy? What does your life look like when it is unexpectedly divided into "before" and "after"? Those are some of the hard questions faced by the characters in this powerful novel. When the novel begins, two brothers (Ed and Allard) in winter New Hampshire save a young girl (Sarah) from drowning when she and her dog fall through the ice into a river. So begins a powerful friendship that, for Allard and Sarah, develops into something more. Years later, on the eve ...more
This language throws me back, somehow. It feels like words I read in books from earlier times - 1920's or 1930's, maybe? I think we've lost a richness in our language and depth of vocabulary, and this story gave me a lot of the feeling I love from earlier works.

That said, I agree with complainers that the plot is given away by the blurb on the back cover. However, the ending is still unclear, and I was drowning in rapture over the language and the fleshing out of the story that even though I th
Sep 28, 2011 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Nicholas Sparks
Shelves: first-reads
This was a beautiful human drama. The writing was smooth and pleasant to read. Mr. Monninger manages to bring us gracefully into New Hampshire, into the world of Ed, Allard and Sarah, our protagonists. He has created likeable, yes even loveable characters with these three. It's easy to develop an attachment to them from the very beginning, and you cannot stop turning the pages to follow their relationships and see what life has in store for them. Not in the least bit boring, the author captures ...more
I really like Monninger's writing style. I agree with several other reviewer that I wish the book preview hadn't mentioned the pivotal event...instead of just enjoying the book, I was always waiting for the other foot to drop.
I am definitely headed back to the library for another of Monninger's books. I thinks it's neat that he lives so close to me. Maybe I'll shop at the Plymouth Hannaford's more often just for a chance encounter with the author!!!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book that follows the story of Allard and Ed, brothers growing up in New Hampshire, and their dear friend and neighbor, Sarah. The boys save the new girl, Sarah, when she fell through the ice, and their lives are intertwined ever since. It sounds corny, but it's not. I found it so poignant and beautiful as the kids grow up, find their way, and encounter tragic loss as well as profound love. highly recommend.
A lovely, lyrical book about young love, both for a couple who meet as early teenagers and two brothers who have a great love for nature and the world around them. I'm a big fan of Joseph Monninger's writing, and his nature scenes are fantastic. My favorite one in this book is the moment when the brothers, Allard and Ed, who are fly fishing in Wyoming, see their two shadows converge and become one. A gorgeous and memorable scene.

The ending was wrapped up just a little too "Hallmark movie" for me
I'm not one for writing reviews but...this is one of my new favourite books. The author's writing style was lovely. The entire novel was somewhat dreamy and ethereal. I loved the inclusion of details concerning the setting and the nature around them. I fell in love with all the characters as soon as I started reading. I couldn't put it down. It was a really emotional and beautiful book and one that I'm sure I'll read many more times and recommend to friends.
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The best part of this book was the beginning. It really gave you a feel for the small New Hampshire town and the thoughts of a young boy. As the story moved on it just seemed to drag with nothing much happening for a while. Then the last part I just did not like at all. Similar to another review I wish it had been a short story, but not the first half, maybe only the first quarter.
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Joseph Monninger has published eleven novels and three non-fiction books. His work has appeared in American Heritage, Scientific American, Readers Digest, Glamour, Playboy, Story, Fiction, The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and Ellery Queen, among other publications. He has twice received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has also received a fellowship from the New Hampshi ...more
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