Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life As We Knew It

I can't believe I finally read this book by Susan Beth Pfeffer! Everyone's been talking about it and it's been on my list forever. I'm home sick with a stomach flu this week and was looking around for something that would grab my attention and there it was!

Life As We Knew It is about Miranda and her family as they try to cope with life after the moon gets knocked out of its orbit and ends up closer to Earth. This of course affects tides and weather so suddenly the world sees a lot of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, etc. Add to that the general problems of no electricity, gas shortages, food shortages and isolation and life gets pretty tough.

From day to day, teenage Miranda's life turns upside down. There is no more school and friends and socialising at the mall. Instead, she needs to learn to take care of herself and of others and to do things like do laundry by hand.

The book is pretty grim of course, but the way Miranda and her family handled the situations thrown at them was uplifting, I thought. And since the changes in life and weather were not (in this case) caused by man's selfishness but by natural occurence underestimated by scientists, they really were sudden - just to say that what I took out of it was pretty much 'enjoy life while you can'. Here's a passage that touched me:

Maybe because I don't know anymore if there is a future, I'm grateful for the good things that have happened to me this year. I never knew I could love as deeply as I do. I never knew I could be so willing to sacrifice things for other people. I never knew how wonderful a taste of pineapple juice could be, or the warmth of a woodstove, or the sound of Horton [the cat] purring, or the feel of clean clothes against freshly scrubbed skin.
I'm not pretending to know how Miranda felt, but the passage touched me at this point in time because our heating had been broken for almost a month and temperatures were around zero. I never really thought about heating as a luxury until then. And now that it's been working again for a week, I barely remember what the cold felt like and I'm taking it for granted again.

I think we can all benefit from thinking about all the things that we do have on a daily basis, the simple things. My friend Amy recently told me about something she heard on Oprah about writing down 5 things you're grateful each night before you go to sleep. Might be an interesting thought.

Now, I do want to point out that just because in this book the climate change was caused by nature, we can lead ourselves to the same point anyway. Read The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd for more on that.

By the way, at the end of my copy a companion book called The Dead and the Gone is mentioned - about the same events but in NYC. Has anyone read it?

Challenges: A-Z Challenge, 999 Challenge, Countdown challenge, New Authors, Young Adult


Ana S. said...

I haven't read The Dead and the Gone yet, but I have a feeling I'll be ordering it before long!

joanna said...

Me too! :-) And get yourself the Carbon Diaries while you're at it - an apocalyptic marathon. :-)

serendipity_viv said...

I think I am going to have to read this. Interesting story line - a bit scary too.

raidergirl3 said...

I haven't read The Dead and the Gone yet, but I am keeping my eye out for it. I really liked this one, and it was one of my favorite books from last week.

joanna said...

Scrap Girl - yes, it's a bit scary, but I think it's worth thinking about.

raidergirl - one of your favorites from last week? that made me smile - guess you're reading tons to be choosing favorites each week! :-)

Anonymous said...

I read both of her books. In my opinion, this one was better than the second one. The second one is from a young boy's point of view in a different state and a different religion. Both were good in my opinion...I just like the first better.

joanna said...

J.Kaye - yeah, I'd be interested to read it, but I liked this one so much that I can't believe the other one will be as a good. Although I think it's a nice idea to have a companion book set in a different city. In a different country would have been even more interesting!

Thoughts of Joy said...

I thought this book was terrific. I haven't read The Dead and the Gone yet because I thought I needed to put space between the two. I hope to read it this year though.