Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This apocalyptic young-adult novel is the first in the series called Last Survivors. It's a story about Miranda Day, her two brothers Matt and Jonny and her mother experiencing a modern day astronomical catastrophe. An asteroid is projected to strike the moon. While everyone is excited to witness the impact, crater and dust cloud, what they really witness when the asteroid strikes is the moon shifting closer to earth - so close it looms over the planet. The gravitational shift changes tides and weather patterns, causing multiple volcano eruptions, loss of communication and the breakdown of civilization around the world.

Susan Beth Pfeffer takes you on a daily journey through the eyes of Miranda as she struggles to maintain her sanity and fight for her survival.  She transforms the characters from average self-gratifying Americans to compassionate, loving, people focused on the survival of their family.

One main theme kept me coming back for more and that was building inner strength in the time of physical weakness.  Each character was pushed beyond their physical limitations, yet persevered under the worst-imaginable circumstances. The characters even comment each others' maturity, evident when she stars referring to her younger brother as Jon.  I really loved the journal-style presentation of the story because Miranda could share her true feelings without repercussions. Excerpts:
Sept 6:Seeing all those cans and boxes and bags of food made me mad, like why are we starving ourselves when we still have food?  When the food runs out, we'll probably die, so what difference does it make if that's November or January or March? Why not eat while we can?
That's when I saw the bag of chocolate chips.  I'd forgotten all about them, how I'd thrown them into my shopping cart on Crazy Shopping Day. I went  a little crazy.  There was food in the pantry that Mom wasn't letting us eat and there was chocolate, real chocolate, in the house and Mom was hoarding it because it has no nutritional value and if we're only eating a little bit every day, we're better off with spinach.  And they were MY d*** chocolate chips.  I ripped open the bag and poured them down my throat.
Nov30:I told Mom I wanted to go for a walk and she said, "Well, why don't you? You've been spending entirely too much time indoors." I love her but I could throttle her.
Feb 7:Mom's birthday.  Christmas, when Mom had shared her candy with us, I ate 2 of the 4 pieces I took, and saved the other 2.  So Mom's birthday present was 2 pieces of candy.  Jon let her beat him in chess.  And Matt walked to and from the staircase 3 times.  She said it was the best birthday she'd ever had.
Once again, I was unaware this was a series so the ending came as a surprise and a delight. Especially for being a series, Pfeffer writes a beautiful ending, keeping the reader wondering how it will end until the very last sentence.  This book is an inexpensive, quick read that will satisfy your need for more, knowing it's book one in the Last Survivor series. Find it here along with books two and three. I cannot wait to see what else she has written.

I rate this book **** (4 stars)!


  1. This does sound like a good read. I like journal-type books that I can follow as if I'm watching a movie. Maybe this book can take me away from my troubles for awhile as I imagine that way of life?

  2. I always like knowing about new books. I have to say that I have not followed new reads in this category since I stopped teaching. This is good to know for when I go back to work. I hope you are having a great weekend!

    Mama Hen

  3. Hi Angie! This book really makes you appreciate what you have, no mater how little! Especially family - that was the best part.

    Mama Hen, I didn't realize you were a teacher - awesome!