Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1) Life As We Knew It discussion

The protagonist

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Allie Why was the protagonist Miranda, the whiny teenage girl? I thought it was a bad idea in the first place to do the book in the style of a teenage girl's diary. That is generally a souce of teenage angst, which is really hard for some people to stand. Miranda didn't do much of anything throughout the novel. I didn't like it. I'm just wondering if there are any positive attributes I'm overlooking...

uh8myzen I enjoyed the book, and I spent a lot of time wanting to shake Miranda, but overall I liked her character and think that she is an excellent protagonist for this novel.

She, like all youth represents the future and pure unsprung potential. Many youth possess an optimistic naivete (not meant in a negative sense) that not only sees, but expects a future bright with possibilities, which, in this novel, are wiped away in the matter of a few months.

The journey she takes in her diary begins with her previous state of optimistic naivete and innocence to acceptance and eventually acquiescence of her new reality. There are a ton of bumps along the way that are filled with childish lamentations and complaints, but in and around them, we see her transform.

This journey she takes is much like the journey we all take into adulthood, where the pretty pictures begin to fade and the business of survival begins. (When you finally realize that you'll never make a living as a poet!)

I like to think that the novel uses the apocalyptic setting as a way of illustrating that this transformation we all take into adulthood, from optimistic naivete to acquiescence is essentially a disaster, or a negative consequence of growing up as I personally believe it to be.

Remembering my teenage years and the people I knew (has it been that long?), remembering our own personal versions of the future and what became of them when they encountered the realities of adulthood, I get quite sad. It took a few years, but I decided a while back to throw caution to the wind and try to recapture those dreams, but most don't and I may die trying, but I'll got to my grave much happier!

The truely happy people in the world are those who hold on to the boundless optimism and the dreams of their youth. I think this is a central theme in the text, and Miranda is the perfect instrument by which to illustrate the journey and transformation.

Miranda is faced with a reality that slowly chips away at her vision of the future... we see it again and again as her friends disappear, she laments the impossiblity of her relationship with her new boyfriend and his eventual departure, etc

Eventually, through all of this, she comes to a point of surrender and acceptance. She accepts her situation, adapts and prepares to move on leaving her childhood and its dreams behind.

Anyway... hope I contributed something for you, if not positive, at least explanatory of Miranda's character and her role as the protagonist... at least in my understanding after only a single read of the novel a few months ago.

Hope its not complete gibberish... I have to stop posting after a week of insomnia!

message 3: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy I really enjoyed this book and devoured the sequels as well. I agree with the synopsis given by uh8myzen. I love the story line and think it's a breath of fresh air that the problem wasn't fixed in the end of the story, that life didn't go back to the way it was before. That, to me, is reality. I walked away wondering what I would have done in that situation, and reaffirming in my mind that change and newness are sometimes our only options; how we choose to accept them defines our personal growth.

Allie I must add that I actually am a teenager and that is saying something. Mirands just seemed like the type of girl I would avoid at school.... I enjoyed the idea of the book, it's just that the characters were irritating and Miranda wasn't the best voice in my poinion.


Lena I do agree that she was annoying, but there are lots of YA books with whiny, annoying teenage girls. At least the protagonist in this novel had a reason to be. I've read several highly acclaimed, award-winning, well-loved (by others) books that I gave 1-star ratings because of the whiny teen girls.

Maybe it's b/c even as a teenager, I was the complete opposite and I've always avoided whiny people. But more likely, I'm offended at the portrayal of girls as whiny helpless brats.

However, in this novel, the plot made up for the girl's attitude, and since I believed she had a good reason to act that way, it didn't detract from the book.

Kyle Well, this is a young-adult book. It's post-apocalyptic, and it's a girl protagonists. Now, switching over to my pro-males side, what do girls do all day? Chat. What do girls do when they don't have all day? Chat. What do girls do when kingdom-come has finally come and the Moon's hurtling towards us, nearly wiping mankind off the very face of the planet? Chat. But there's no one to chat to! Then write. No power! Facebook is gone! Diary.

Switching back...a diary is what we can all relate to, instead of some faceless narrator telling the story, we see the apocalypse from the point of view from an average teenage girl.

And, it's the freaking apocalypse. We don't have AKs to go around to shoot mutants, and humans haven't invented ARK technology or Vaults or anything else. What better thing is there to do other than record the last days of your life so that an alien passing by can hopefully give a darn to come to the Earth, give a darn to land on the Earth, and give a darn to read it?

message 8: by Diana (last edited Oct 11, 2011 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diana ************Spoiler Alert****************

Whiny, yes, but eventually she is the reason for family makes it AND the way the book ends she is no longer whiny but her family is. There is a good reason it's her diary, because you see her mental growth as the conditions worsen.

Georgina Kyle wrote: "Well, this is a young-adult book. It's post-apocalyptic, and it's a girl protagonists. Now, switching over to my pro-males side, what do girls do all day? Chat. What do girls do when they don't hav..."

Bit sexist. I am a teenage girl but I tend to listen to conversation rather than take part in it and I don't have a problem with prolonged silence.

Not all girls are the same...


message 11: by Allie (new) - rated it 1 star

Allie I liked the other components of the book, just not Miranda. She just wasn't my favorite female lead.

message 12: by Kyle (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kyle Georgie wrote: "Kyle wrote: "Well, this is a young-adult book. It's post-apocalyptic, and it's a girl protagonists. Now, switching over to my pro-males side, what do girls do all day? Chat. What do girls do when t..."

There are exceptions...just kidding. Hope no offense was taken.

message 13: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 25, 2012 11:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elizabeth Georgie wrote: "Kyle wrote: "Well, this is a young-adult book. It's post-apocalyptic, and it's a girl protagonists. Now, switching over to my pro-males side, what do girls do all day? Chat. What do girls do when t..."

I'm a girl and I still thought she was a bit - strike that!- WAS whiny. But you do have to keep in mind that it is YA fiction, like Kyle said. It is aimed at the quintessential girl reader. Reading the excerpt for The Dead and the Gone, I felt like it would not have the same woe-is-me feeling that much of the first book did, and I do want to know what happens as the world tries to recover from this disaster. So I have not crossed the series off yet. I think it's important to keep the audience of the book in mind when reading. It helps to keep perspective.

Fatema i rated it 5 stars

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