Jenny's Reviews > Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
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Jun 25, 2013

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bookshelves: young-adult
Read on June 24, 2013

What if an asteroid crashed into the moon, knocking it - and life on earth - off-kilter? Sixteen-year-old Miranda documents this event and its aftermath in her journal. Tsunamis wipe out islands and coastal cities; communication (by radio, TV, internet) flickers and is cut off, as is electricity; the food supply dwindles and family survival trumps the value of sharing with others. Miranda's mother insisted they stockpile canned food and began a vegetable garden, but once volcanic eruptions block the sun with a cloud of ash, the garden fails and all the family has is the supply of food in the pantry, which will eventually run out. Winter arrives in August, and the family - Miranda, her older brother Matt, her younger brother Jonny, and their mom - huddle around the woodstove they are lucky to have (supplies of oil and natural gas have been exhausted or cut off).

Miranda's thoughts, feelings, and actions are completely realistic and consistent with a normal sixteen-year-old. She fights with her mother and occasionally her siblings, but for the most part the disaster draws them closer rather than driving them apart. Together, they ration meals, play games, worry about their relatives in other areas of the country, and come up with solutions to problems as they arise. Life As We Knew It is a story of strength and strong family ties.

This reminded me strongly of The Age of Miracles, with a few key differences: (1) in Life As We Knew It, the change is explained: an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it into a different position in relation to earth, which has an affect on tides (and volcanoes), (2) it is narrated through sixteen-year-old Miranda's journal entries, rather than from the POV of a twenty-something telling the story of her eleven-year-old self, and (3) the ending is much different (it actually reminded me of The Giver, as Miranda heads off toward town in the snow, but is less open-ended than either Lowry's or Walker's books).
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06/24/2013 marked as: currently-reading
06/25/2013 marked as: read

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