Life As We Knew It

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2008

By Susan Beth Pfeffer, Reviewed by Megan Kibler

Lif e As We Knew It book cover

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer;
Harcourt Children’s Books: New York, zoo6;
$17

My first impression of the book Life As We Knew It was that it would be boring and drawn-out, judging by its number of pages and blunt plot. When I began reading it, I was mesmerized with the book’s intensity and multiple problems that stemmed from the story’s main conflict: an asteroid hitting the moon, knocking it closer to the earth and off its orbit. From that moment, life for Miranda, the main character, drastically changes as she, along with the rest of humanity, is burdened with the devastating aftereffects of the asteroid. First of all, natural disasters such as tsunamis are submerging peninsulas all across the globe, beginning the List of the Dead posted on the Internet. Scientists even announce that “the world is coming to an end.”

Afterwards, Miranda and her family embark on a shopping spree to create a surplus of food in case this theory is true. I realized that things we can take for granted, such as clean drinking water, enough food to eat, and a comfortable home, have a huge impact on your life if affected.

As the plot continues, the results only become worse. Earthquakes occur, fatal viruses are common, weather patterns change, and heating oil along with electricity is hard to come by. This disables phone and Internet connections, and the outside world’s future seems closer to non-existence every day. I thought about what I valued and appreciated the opportunities I had each day.

I was also amazed at what Miranda has to cope with concerning her living situation. In order to conserve heat, they move into the living room and board up the windows. My house seemed much nicer in comparison, making me feel thankful.

As for the way the book was written, there were some pros and cons to it. I thought the format of the story, which was written as if it were Miranda’s diary, seemed very engaging and made you feel as if you were going through the same struggle that she was. However, her account was too detailed with repetitive thoughts such as being hungry or bored that didn’t contribute to the plot and made it less appealing to the reader because of the day-to-day format. Some topics that the author focused upon were dedication to your family, dealing with forced situations, and how a crisis has a different affect on each person.

This book made me realize something important: we should pay attention to our surroundings and to what is going on in the world, such as the war in Iraq or the world hunger issue. These events may not affect us, but we should know about them because one day, unexpectedly, something similar could happen in our country Another current problem is the effect of global warming, which is the heating of the earth’s atmosphere because of the carbon dioxide released from motor vehicles, factories, and the overuse of electricity Although it seems an asteroid won’t be colliding with the earth any time soon, global warming is having the same impact—only gradually—on our planet.

With its wonderful morals and intricate plot, Life As We Knew It is a book that everyone should read.

Lif e As We Knew It Megan Kibler

Megan Kibler, 12
East Springfield,
Pennsylvania

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