Rae's Reviews > Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
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F_50x66
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Jul 09, 11

Read in June, 2010

I don't usually give 1 star unless I really hated the book. I really hated this book.

I'm a sucker for dystopian/end of the world books, let me tell you. I picked this one up at Barnes And Noble last summer in the hopes of finding another book I really loved, but unfortunately that was not the case. The most important part of an end-of-the-world thriller, in my opinion, is it's ability to make you think that it could actually happen. I found Pfeffer's story of the moon being knocked out of orbit so far-fetched that I could barely believe it from the very beginning.

CAUTION: there may be spoilers in this review, so if you haven't yet read this sorry excuse for a book, you might not want to continue reading.

My second problem with this book were the characters. We get to meet Miranda, the spoiled girl who gripes because her mother won't let her eat whatever she wants. We hear the whole story from her POV. Then there's her mother, who constantly attacks George W. Bush, refuses to watch Fox News even though it's the end of the world and CNN lost its news feed, and constantly drills into her children that they aren't to help anyone. No one. Miranda's little brother manages to go to baseball camp despite everything that's happening. One of Miranda's friends refuses to eat because she believes that "God will provide for her". And that's how everyone religious is portrayed in the book. Completely delusional wackos. I feel like Pfeffer's voice and opinions were coming through her characters, making them shallow and unbelievable.

The volcano in Yellowstone park erupts, but yet nothing happens except a little ash. ..Um, what? Tsunamis are threatening the entire coast, the death rate is rising, but yet Miranda's older brother and pregnant girlfriend manage to make it safely to their house. Miranda wanders the streets but never once gets mugged or even close to it. A dangerous virus rages, killing almost everyone who contracts it. Everyone in Miranda's family gets it except her, but yet no one dies. How convenient. The electricity flickers on at random times, and with it, the internet magically works. Even when the electricity is off, they have running water. It appears that Pfeffer didn't even research anything the slightest amount.

The story gets increasingly dull in the middle. Page after page after page of Miranda and her family living in their sunroom, surviving with nothing at all happening. I almost stopped reading then, but I still had hopes that maybe, just maybe, the book would redeem itself at the end. It didn't. Miranda's family had finally run out of food, and she was walking the streets, expecting to die. But to her luck, she makes her way to the city hall. We've already been told that crops aren't making it, the food supplies are dwindling, and basically, there's nothing left. But lo and behold, the city hall is giving out a bag of food every Monday! Now where did this food come from? This is only one mystery of Pfeffer's failed dystopian world. I found myself left with a disappointed feeling, a book I hated, and a wasted $7.95.


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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Talyah I'm reading this right now and I really want to put it down (only 48 pages in). I couldn't agree with you more - "I feel like Pfeffer's voice and opinions were coming through her characters, making them shallow and unbelievable."


message 2: by Rae (new) - rated it 1 star

Rae It's good to know I'm not the only one! :)


Banana Thank you for understanding. This is exactly how I felt.


message 4: by Talyah (last edited Jul 05, 2012 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Talyah I'm like you Rae, I'm so glad to know I'm not alone. I was so scared writing my review, I was afraid someone would get offended.
Nice to know there are like-minded readers out there =)


message 5: by Rae (new) - rated it 1 star

Rae Definitely! I don't usually enjoy writing bad reviews because of that, but this book completely deserved it!


Becca You said it!! Worst book I've read in a long time.....


Green Elephant Girl ™ Awesome review, and I agree with a lot of what you said. But just saying, Miranda's brother doesn't have a girlfriend, let alone a pregnant one. I think you might've meant her dad and his wife. Other than that, well done :D


message 8: by Rae (new) - rated it 1 star

Rae Ah, my mistake. That's what I get for waiting awhile after reading the book to write this review, haha. Thank you :)


Natalie The water bit is because they have a well-based water-supply.


message 10: by Ellen (new) - rated it 1 star

Ellen "A spoiled girl who gripes because her mother won't let her eat whatever she wants." That is a perfect description of her. I agree completely.


Annie Talyah wrote: "I'm reading this right now and I really want to put it down (only 48 pages in). I couldn't agree with you more - "I feel like Pfeffer's voice and opinions were coming through her characters, making..."


That's definitely how I felt.


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