Buggy's Reviews > Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
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's review
Apr 06, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: ya, end-of-days, shelf-12, survival, fiction, top, book-hangover
Read from June 29 to July 01, 2012

Opening Line:“Lisa is pregnant. Dad called around 11 o’clock to let us know.”

I loved this, easily one of my top reads this year; although maybe love isn’t the right word because this book scared the crap out of me. It also depressed me, made me very cold and gave me OCD about stockpiling food. I mean just how long could I survive on what’s in my cupboards? Not very. Three boxes of Kraft Dinner and a jar of spaghetti sauce are hardly going to see me through a wintery apocalypse now are they? (Although that bottle of gin will come in handy)

As much as this book messed with my head, I also couldn’t stop reading it, fascinated in a morbid sort of way. I’ve heard it compared to a car accident and that’s true, once you start this you won’t be able to look away.

Life As We Knew It is written in diary form, from the POV of 16year old Miranda. The entries start just prior to a meteor hitting the moon and initially her accounts are self-absorbed, and annoying in fact she comes off kind of spoiled, which let’s face it, is realistic for a high school girl. I think the author probably did this on purpose to show us what her life and thoughts were like ‘before’ and how much she grows as a person by the end of this harrowing story.

Miranda lives with her mother and younger brother (with another brother away at college). Her father has remarried and is expecting a baby with his new wife. Nobody is paying much attention to the astronomers or the moon. I mean at 16 it’s all about you, everything else is just an annoyance. In May the meteor knocks the moon out of its orbit and everything changes.

Miranda’s mother is the real hero of this story, having the foresight to begin amassing food and winter clothes, (candles, batteries, water) while the rest of the world watches and waits. The power is the first to go, then Tsunamis take out anyone on the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents and volcanic ash quickly blocks out the sun. We the readers remain mostly naïve about world events because we only know what Miranda writes in her diary and she’s stopped listening to the news only occasionally giving us tidbit from rare radio broadcast that now mostly consist of death lists but soon even the radio stops.

As summer turns to arctic winter and disease threatens those left alive Miranda’s world grows smaller and smaller. School is cancelled, her friends have either moved or died and gathering firewood and water takes up most of her day. She has little strength left because she is starving and her family has moved into one room to conserve the small amount of heat the wood stove is putting out. It is cold, blinding snow storms and ash fill the sky, the food is almost gone, the food is almost gone! When she thinks about last week she wonders why she ever complained because she had it so much better, last week she was eating one meal a day, now she’s eating every second day and wondering just how much longer her family can survive. She hopes she goes first.

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Reading Progress

07/01/2012 page 337
03/29/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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message 1: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Fabulous review...although I think I'll have to pass on this one. :)

Buggy Yay Thanks so much Vicki :)

I couldn't put this down although it did really upset me, so I undertsand why you'd pass.

message 3: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant What Vicki said, Bugs -- excellent review! PM me and tell me how it ends, kay?

Happy Belated Canada Day - did you have fireworks to watch?

message 4: by Buggy (last edited Jul 03, 2012 11:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buggy Hey there Tamster, Happy Belated Canada day to you too.

Nope no fireworks and no camping this year either, since we are experiencing "Juneuary" here on the west coast. Coldest/westest June on record. Its 9deg right now, put on a fleece and hat to walk the dog tonight. Bullshit!

I'll PM ya in a sec

message 5: by Dee (new)

Dee Nice review Buggy ☺

Shame about the weather you having.....We having the same sort of weather here in the UK. We are now into July which is supposed to be mid-summer for us yet we still wearing woolies and daren't go out without a raincoat or umbrella.....Ridiculous!!!

Buggy Thanks Dee,

Glad to know I'm not alone with the weather issues! I even lit the fire the other night, which is unheard of for July

message 7: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Crazy! Here in PA it's been super hot, in the 90's (F). It's too hot to be outside unless you are in a swimming pool.

Buggy I would trade you for a couple of days Melissa. I have the heat on right now, its 12 deg (C)

message 9: by Erika (new) - added it

Erika Love your review Buggy! Looks like it's a very sad book, but I will definitely give it a try :)

Buggy Thanks Erika, its definitely a tough read but worth it

message 11: by Laima (new) - added it

Laima This is a scary book, not sure I want to read it. We are cooking hot here in southern ontario - its 40 deg(C)!

Buggy It is scary Laima, I'm still not over it, still want to hoard dry and canned food just in case.

40 deg in Ontario thats crazy stuff. Kinda funny too because like I said I have the heat on right now

Greta is Erikasbuddy EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! This scared you?!! Freaking awesome!! Now I must read it!!!!

message 14: by Buggy (last edited Jul 07, 2012 12:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buggy You will love it Greta, and then you'll start hoarding food and buying candles and batteries and checking your cupboards. LOL Its really good, but it messed me up a bit

Greta is Erikasbuddy zomg!! That sounds AWESOME!! I can't wait to start my hoard :)

message 16: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB It looks like an interesting read Buggy but is the ending super depressing? (does she just starve to death?)

message 17: by Buggy (last edited Jul 08, 2012 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buggy Hmmmm we're in spoiler territory here... Oh wait, there are 2 more books in the series so I guess I can safely say no she doesn't starve to death but it's close.

Its the changes she (and her family) go through that are also amazing. I think we are all possible of much more than we realize

message 18: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Sorry, I had to know! I will check this out then.

Buggy Don't be sorry Melissa :) I just didn't want to spoil for anyone

message 20: by Aleasha (new) - added it

Aleasha Love your review, i'm definitley adding to my to-read list!

Buggy Thanks Aleasha, I loved this but its very disturbing!

message 22: by Noah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Noah Brahm I agree because it really made me realize how hard it would be to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

message 23: by Buggy (last edited Aug 19, 2013 03:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buggy Yeah Noah, it really opens your eyes. I found myself so cold hungry while reading this

Barbara I'm almost done and I love it and your line about feeling OCD about stockpiling supplies. If you haven't already, you should read Not A Drop To Drink.

Buggy Barbara wrote: "I'm almost done and I love it and your line about feeling OCD about stockpiling supplies. If you haven't already, you should read Not A Drop To Drink."

Hey Barbra, sorry it took me so long to see your comment and thank you so much for the recommendation. I'm definitely going to check out Not a Drop to Drink

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