I never knew I could love so deeply. 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 purring, or the feel of clean clothes against freshly scrubbed skin.
It wouldn't be New Year's without a resolution. I've resolved to take a moment everyday for the rest of my life to appreciate what I have.
I put off reading Life As We Knew It, because I only had a vague idea of what it was about and I thought it was about the world suddenly going dark. (no electricity). I had already read a Christian fiction series along the same lines (Terri Blackstock's Restoration series ) and so I wasn't sure what Life As We Knew It would offer that was new.
Well, that's not exactly the premise behind Life as We Knew It. What actually happens in this book, is that an asteroid hits the moon forcing it closer to earth. And that throws everything off and out of balance. The moon is responsible for so many things as it turns out, so there are huge tidal waves, volcanoes erupting, earthquakes occuring. And each one of these things has many repercussions that reach far and wide.
Life as We Knew It is told in sixteen year old Miranda's diary. Which is a stroke of pure genius because it elevates the tension and suspense and gives us the very closest look at the inner working of someone's mind during this time. It's very intense. I felt what Miranda was feeling while I read, and I become deeply invested in her outcome because I felt I knew everything about her heart.
In some ways it is similar to other disaster stories as they ration out food. But the complete unknown makes for a compelling read as Miranda battles with a variety of emotions in dealing with this global crisis for survival while also just growing up. You know, falling for a boy, dealing with sibling rivalry, that sort of thing. Miranda is just a typical first world teenager and the very fact that her family is in survival mode is all very new to her.
This is a gut-wrenching page turning read. But I did have some questions. One think I couldn't understand was how they were still getting mail. With gas being at a premium and no electricity it seemed impossible there was any way to keep the mail system going for as long as they did. But I think that part of the beauty of this book was that the reader really knows no more than Miranda does. You're very much in the situation with her and so there were obviously conditions the reader doesn't know about. I imagine that Pfeffer had to have the world more fully realized in her head, in order to zero in on just one story and I guess I'm right because there's a companion book of an entirely different story out now.
Another thing that made me really sad was the portrayal of the Christians. I should be clear that I understand that all churches are not created equal and the kind of Christians and church that Miranda encountered would probably exist during a crisis like this. But it still makes me really sad. That was one of the things I loved about reading this kind of story from a Christian perspective was the struggle the Christians had in doing the right thing and being the church when they were fighting for their own survival. (do you hoard your food or share with your neighbor?) So while I understand why Pfeffer chose to portray the "Christians" this way, I wish there could have been like, one normal one.
But apart from those small issues I really liked this book so much. It will stick with you. It will inspire you to stock up on nonperishables and water and move someplace south (where there is still water!) It will absolutely break your heart over and over again and remind you about what's important in life. Highly recommended.
Source of Book: I bought it!
This is my first book read for Dewey's Books Challenge!
This book did make me think about how there are millions of people who are starving to death every single day. There are families living in apocalyptic conditions in our world right now. Those of us who eat three times a day are highly privileged. This was a great reminder of that.