Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Hungry: Life as we knew it.

Our selection for this month's read was Life as we knew it  by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Description as borrowed from Amazon:

It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

This month Abby posed a good question in the form of a book.

What if this happened to us?

I wish I could say I loved reading this book.  I didn't.

I wish I could say this one didn't give me nightmares.  I can't.

I wish I could say this one ended with some ray of hope.  It didn't.

This was a tough read for me.  As I told the ladies during our Tuesday night discussion, I had to put it down every few chapters and go get my holiday back on with some Fa-la-la-la Lifetime. 

This book was well written.  It was compelling.  And I know, I know it won't be leaving me any time soon.  Pfeffer did a great job with the voices of each characters.  The mom sounds just like you would expect her to sound in the face of such doom.  Her determination in taking care of her family at the cost of all else struck a cord in me.  The older and younger brothers are equally as well rounded and you really feel for this family as they are forced to face bleaker and bleaker conditions.

The scenes are believable and even gut wrenching at times.  There were moments when I felt as if I were sitting with Miranda or even walking in her shoes.  Through the first chapters, after this catastrophic event has happened, her age shines through with her naievete' in believing things will get back to normal.  This is a coming of age story that showcases hard choices and even harder outcomes. 

While this isn't in my 'I love it' category, I need to be fair here and admit it has more to do with the subject matter than how the book was written.  This was definitely a page turner and even when I didn't want to be riveted, I was.  When I finished this story my heart hurt.  Literally, it hurt.  There were a few moments of suspended disbelief, especially toward the end, but overall this is a solid story that will leaving you asking the question: what if this really did happen to us?


Linda G. said...

Nightmares? That clinches it. Definitely not for me.

Patty Blount said...

Yep. *nods* All of the above.
I can't say I enjoyed reading it but I am glad we did if only for the renewed appreciation of the normalcy in our lives.

Karla Nellenbach said...

I have to say that I disagree that it ended without hope. (and you must admit that it's weird that I, miss doom and gloom in all things written, am the only book club member who seems to think these book contain a bit of the hopeful)

Kelly Breakey said...

Karla: That's because your crazy!

abby mumford said...

i think there was the teeniest sliver of hope at the end. it's not much, but considering how desolate the rest of the book is, it's something. however, i would NOT classify this as a hopeful book. not even a little bit.

and again, THANK YOU for reading this with me. sorry to scar you. :)

Karla Nellenbach said...

Kelly: this is common knowledge already. tell me something new.