Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Dead and the Gone
Last week when I reviewed the first book in the Moon crash Trilogy, Life As We Knew It, I mentioned that I was saddened by the portrayal of Christians. Becky commented that the second book, The Dead and the Gone, took a different approach. Additionally, the ad for The Dead and the Gone in the back of Life As We Knew It said it was an exploration of faith. That, and the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about Life As We Knew It made me feel like I had to read it right away. But I knew even if I ordered it through Amazon I wouldn't get it for a few days. And since the paperback version is coming out soon, most stores wouldn't be carrying the hardcover version. Luckily, one of my Borders had it in stock and I had them pull it for me and went to pick it up.

The Dead and the Gone covers a lot of the same time period as Life As We Knew It, but takes place in New York City instead. The story is told in third person instead of diary format. I have to say, it seems New York and the main character seventeen year old Alex, had it much worse than the Miranda's family in Life As We Knew It. Alex's father is in Puerto Rico for a family funeral and his mom takes the subway the first night the crisis happens. Alex and his two younger sisters never hear from them again.

In a city, things are worse. When people die, and die they do, they just stay in the spot where they died, waiting to be stripped of anything that might get food for others and to be eaten by rats. Alex and his sisters try to survive and Alex works hard to take care of his sisters. The advantage that Alex and his sisters have is their church. They are devout Catholics and the church does do a lot to take care of the people, including distributing food weekly, keeping lunches at the school, and using the students to do work for the community in exchange for food. But I wouldn't say this is a really deep exploration of faith. Faith enters into this story in a way it didn't in Life As We Knew It, certainly, though.

I felt so much affection for the character of Alex and his sisters. I absolutely loved them and felt very much invested in their outcome. I raced through this book and felt miserable when I had to set it down. In fact, the entire cast of characters is rich and interesting and it was heartbreaking to lose any of them. Pfeffer's New York during this crisis is a bleak and miserable place and this book is darker than Life As We Knew It. But the same resiliancy of the human spirit, power of love and sacrifice is present.

I honestly don't know how I'm going to recover from these two books. I don't feel interested in reading anything else at the moment. The next book doesn't come out until April, though. Until then, I'll just have to pick up something totally different to cleanse the palate. :) So in short....if you're looking for a book to give you characters to care about deeply, ruin you emotionally, and steal your sleep and free time...well I really recommend these two books! :)

Rating: 4.75/5
Source of Book: I bought it.
Publisher: Harcourt




Amy

17 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

You are funny! Some books do that to you, don't they? I can become obsessed with series, and I just hate it when that happens. I can't function. It is interesting that you get more faith in the story that takes place in NY. You wouldn't expect that.

A few days ago I finished The Angel's Game on audio and it ruined me a bit. I started another audio right after, something mild, and I couldn't do it. I was so twisted. Had to listen to a murder mystery. That is a sign of some powerful writing!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

OH dear! I planned on reading both of these during the readathon! Perhaps I should hold off and read them at the end?

Beth F said...

I had these on my list to begin with -- now I know that they are not to be missed. Thanks for getting me excited about a couple of new titles.

bermudaonion said...

Wow! It sounds like that book just left you wiped out. I think I'd have to be in the right mood for something like that.

Louise said...

I've read both books and found them excellent (I got the paperback version of the dead & the gone used on eBay by the way, so that one must've been out for a long time, at least in Europe). Both books stayed with me for some days, and after reading Life As We Knew It, I felt like you: I had to get the other one asap.

excellent review.

Nymeth said...

Eep! Even darker? I hope I can handle it! The reason why I didn't pick this up right after Life as We Knew It was because I needed a break from dark reads. I want to read it and the third book sometime, though.

Bart's Bookshelf said...

Echoes Nymeth's Eep! The first was dark enough :) This is definitely on the wish-list though.

Lenore said...

Thanks for reminding me about what bothered me about Life As We Knew It (that and the cat surviving). Maybe I will give The Dead and the Gone a chance after all.

Ti said...

I wasn't aware of a second book! I'm a bit behind apparently as I have yet to read the first one but my son got it so it will be coming my way soon. That is, if he doesn't lose it!

Jeanne said...

There was an interesting discussion by folks who'd read the "moon crash" books over at Bookshelves of Doom on the day NASA crashed into the crater to see if there would be water in the dust plume!

Charley said...

Glad to hear this is good, even if it is difficult to read.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Both books are great but for entirely different reasons. I cannot wait either for the third book. I'm very interested in how she'll bring these two stories together.

Debbie's World of Books said...

Wow! I loved Life As We Knew It but put off reading this because the first one was so intense. Going to have to pick this one up after this review :)

Kailana said...

I am looking forward to reading this eventually. Just haven't got that far yet!

writemeg said...

"Ruin you emotionally"! Haha. Oh, I totally agree... I actually haven't gotten this one yet because I know it will suck up any and all of my free time, so I'm waiting until I have a little break! Plus, having just finished Life As We Knew It a few weeks ago, I'm not convinced I've gotten over that yet, either! I need time before I jump back into dystopia -- especially in New York. Great review -- I'm definitely going to continue with the series soon! :)

Dani in NC said...

I had the same feeling when I finished the first book, and it has occurred several times since then with other books. For me, I think it is because I have been reading more series fiction and I am loathe to jump from one universe to another. It is somewhat easier when I read the last book of a series, although I did mourn the end of Harry Potter a little :-).

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Amy, I really appreciate your review! I read Life as We Knew It recently and loved it, and it kills me that no boostore where I live has the second book! I'm glad to know you enjoyed it too. After reading the first book, I felt a little like you did, too : I didn't feel like reading anything else. Such a powerful book!

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate hearing your thoughts.