Annalisa's Reviews > Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
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's review
Mar 03, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, apocalypse, speculative, sci-fi, cover
Recommended to Annalisa by: Jess

** spoiler alert ** I'm not sure whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. It's definitely a page turner. I found myself increasingly anxious for Miranda and her family, but unfortunately, I didn't get much resolution. In the end, there is still volcanic ash in the sky meaning there will be no future food production whenever the cans of food that magically appear at city hall are extinguished. It just extended their inevitable deaths. Just a mention that the sky was clearing would have been enough for me to hope. I also didn't mind that she never figured out what happened to Dan and her dad, but she could have at least asked about a letter from her dad at city hall. Then if nothing was there, I would have assumed that something happened to her father and leave it at that, but she goes downtown to ask and then nothing.

It made me sad that everyone knew Jonny was the one to survive if it came down to one. I wanted a reason for Jonny instead of Matt or Miranda, something more than he was the youngest and a boy. That Miranda knew that and when she confronted her mother she didn't say anything to deny it or comfort her bugged me about her. I didn't always like her mother, but I didn't always like Miranda either, which just made them realistic portrayals of mother and daughter. I enjoyed the unfolding of the characters as much as I enjoyed the plot unfolding.

The story was frightening and made me want to go out and double-stock my food storage. A lot of the daily trials that I hadn't considered popped up in the story. Miranda's mom was smart, getting right on the ball buying up all the supplies they needed, but even then, I kept thinking that their food supply should have run out long before—and they were the ones who bothered stocking up. How was everyone else surviving? I know how the preacher was surviving, but I wish there had been some follow up with him too, some discovery that he had died in the flu epidemic. I wanted her to find out how many people in her town survived. Now that city hall was open and they had food, they could have asked. It's good that the book made me question so many things, I just wish a few of my questions had been answered.

On a sidenote, Pfeffer's statement that people who turn to God in times of grief brainwashed and stupid rubbed me the wrong way. There's also her obvious portrayal of Bush as an idiot hiding out on his ranch in Texas telling everyone that everything was okay. That didn't bother me as much as I just didn't think this was the place for such strong political (or religious) statements. It added character to the story for sure. I just didn't like it. Religion and politics, the two taboo topics and all that.

The book had a lot of promise, but I wanted more. More from Miranda, more explanation of what was going on, and more of a conclusion. Not more as in I loved the story and want to continue it. More as in if Pfeffer had answered a few things for me than maybe I would be curious, but she left too much open for me to go on.
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Reading Progress

March 3, 2010 – Shelved
April 11, 2010 – Started Reading
April 12, 2010 – Shelved as: young-adult
April 12, 2010 – Finished Reading
April 30, 2010 – Shelved as: apocalypse
April 30, 2010 – Shelved as: speculative
July 29, 2010 – Shelved as: sci-fi
December 14, 2011 – Shelved as: cover

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Jess I think that book is fantastic!!! But it makes me want to buy food storage...

Annalisa I've read several books that make me want to buy food storage, or rather more food storage. I can't wait to read it.

Jess Well, there's a companion book, and then a sequel so it's not finished yet...yay!
I didn't like the Bush references either, but I actually didn't mind the religion ones. Probably because she wasn't actually practicing a real religion anymore. She obsessed over it to the point of losing pretty much all her friends, ignored everyone else and then starved herself. I feel like that's pretty realistic of what people do, though. When something works (like turning to God) they go farther and farther as things get worse. She just passed the point she was supposed to be at.

message 4: by Annalisa (last edited Apr 14, 2010 11:46AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Jess,
I agree with you that people do get that way, but in my opinion Pfeffer made it sound like anyone who turned to religion was crazy. Maybe if she'd balanced it with a minor character who was not so involved in just being with his or her Christian friends than I wouldn't have minded it.

I know the story isn't done. I just wish Miranda had made some comment in the end about the sky starting to clear or something to give me hope that the world could be saved. Ash in the sky for that long is going to kill everything and I don't see how anyone could survive once food storage ran out. I also wanted some report about how many people survived (how many food deliveries they were making) and ask what's up with the post office. Just a few loose ends tied that had to do with this story. You'd still be anxious to find out what happens but you'd have some resolution too.

Thanks for the recommend though. I liked the book.

message 5: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa Day I disagree. This book is amazing. I would give it 5 stars! Just make sure you buy food storage before those prices go up!

Annalisa Alyssa,
I liked the book. Had Pfeffer tied a few ends about her dad and the town and the ash in the sky I would have given it four stars. I hear the sequels aren't nearly as good and I rarely read sequels so I'll never get that resolution, but that's okay. It did it's job making me want to get my food storage :).

Jess Annalisa wrote: "Alyssa,
I liked the book. Had Pfeffer tied a few ends about her dad and the town and the ash in the sky I would have given it four stars. I hear the sequels aren't nearly as good and I rarely read ..."

Yeah, the sequels tie up the lose ends, but they're not very good. The Dead and the Gone is ok, but This World We Live In is absolutely terrible. I hated that book. Basically don't waste your time on the others, but this one's great. I wish she had quit while she was ahead...
Even not tying up the lose ends would have been fine with me, because of the hope that things are getting better. It would have been better than ruining the story with the sequels.

Jennifer I have been told that all of the answers are tied together in the third book of the series.

Annalisa I heard that too. I just didn't love it enough to continue.

message 10: by May (new) - rated it 5 stars

May Read the other two in the series. You'll learn what happens.

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