Monday, November 29, 2010

Susan Beth Pfeffer's Series

I just finished Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the first in a trilogy. This one was on my Read From My Shelves Challenge list, one I have been meaning to read for a while. Once I started I could barely tear myself away from it- it is an amazing story and also a very thought provoking one.

I feel like I am one of the last people on the planet to review it, so I hate to re-hash things too much. My very brief summary: an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it out of its orbit. This brings about many catastrophes: tsunamis, hurricanes, volcano eruptions. All alter the lives of people on Earth. Miranda, her mother and two brothers are among the lucky ones. Her mother has the foresight to look to the future and plan ahead. She quickly snatches up whatever food and supplies she can think of. They begin chopping trees for firewood in case they need it in the future. They ration food. Everything they do is with the end goal of surviving. Things go from bad to worse, and just when I thought things would have to look up, another devastating event takes place.

Because this is written like a realistic fiction novel as a diary, it seems very realistic. I can imagine these things happening if our world were to ever encounter some catastrophic event like an asteroid hitting the moon. Even people who think they could survive would still have a great deal to contend with. Miranda's mom planted a vegetable garden only to see it not produce much because of cloudy skies (due to the ash from volcanic eruptions). At first I was irritated that Miranda's mom did not want to look out for others in the community, considering only her and her children (and ex-husband and spouse). However, as time goes on and conditions worsen, it becomes clear that without this mentality Miranda and her family may not have survived this long.

This book makes me wish that I had some older students to read and discuss with. Life as We Knew It is definitely above my best fifth grade readers- if not in readability, in content. Even if they could read this book now, our conversations would not be as in depth as if it were read with some older middle school or high school students.

Life as We Knew It was absolutely amazing. The second book is already in my Amazon cart (shhhh! don't tell my husband). I don't know if I can read it immediately. The first one was a little disturbing, so much so that I think I need to read a happy book next.


Inside A Book said...

This was a book I have thought about for a long time. I found myself checking the cupboards for food and estimating how long we could "make-it"! I'm glad you enjoyed it. The second is definitely worth the time, but I sure needed a 'pick-me-up' book between it and the third in the series!!

Here's my post on it if you want to "talk"!!!


The Golden Eagle said...

I felt that way after I read this book, too; I wanted to read something a bit more cheerful.

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

I read the trilogy last winter and loved it, although I really think it gave me nightmares for awhile. When I realized it was written as a journal, I almost laid it down but since I had all three books (from another blogger) I thought what the heck. Once I got into the story I didn't even notice the journal type entries. These was the first post apocalyptic books I'd read and long after I finished them they would pop in my mind while shopping at Wal-Mart and canning vegetables this summer. There is definitely more disturbing moments in the next two books but they were necessary in order to realize the seriousness of what had happened. Once i started these books I read almost nonstop till I had finished all three and still I wanted just one more. I actually emailed the author to tell her how much I loved them and to see if there would be anymore. While she didn't give me a definite no, she did indicate that the publishers had not requested anymore. So sad.