Sunday, February 22, 2009

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The first thing I thought as I was reading this book was, "This could happen!!" and "Does NASA have a plan? God I hope NASA has a plan!" Kept me up for a few nights. I felt like I had to take survival notes. 1. Fill up gas tanks. 2. Go to Wegmans and get lots of water and non-perishable food. 3. Stay away from the coasts. etc... Seriously, I got nervous! But, isn't the sign of a good book one that gets us thinking? If that is the case then this one is a winner.

Because it made me think, and for many other reasons, I liked this book. Once again I was drawn to the strong female characters and thought all the characters were realistic and well developed. I especially liked the mother. She has a great, practical, take charge attitude. I also like the way Pfeffer handles the decisions she makes about which child needs what...very Sophie's Choiceish.
I also think Miranda's character is well developed. I love the diary format and think it works well for this story. It gives the reader a real sense of what Miranda is feeling and going through. I liked seeing how her character matures through the novel, and the selfless act at the end was well play out, not overly dramatic.

Regarding the end...I did not see the "hope" coming. I truly thought she would go into town and die. I liked that there was a chance of things working out, but that fact that Pfeffer doesn't make it a "for sure" happy ending works- there is hope, but it's not over done or maudlin. I think that is what I like best about this book, it was both terrifying and hopeful at the same time.

I am curious if any of you had a chance to read the companion book, and what you thought of that compared to this? I will stop here to see what you thought about Life As We Know It, and to see who had a chance to read The Dead and Gone. I have to confess, I liked the first book better...but thought the idea of looking at the same catastrophe from a different perspective was a great idea. I am anxious to see what you all thought.