BookBrowse Reviews Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Life As We Knew It

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 360 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A plausible science fiction/coming of age novel for ages 13+

Miranda's diary opens towards the end of her sophomore year at a high school in rural Pennsylvania. The early entries are those of a typical teenager - family fights, prom dates, conversations with friends and just a passing mention of the meteor that's scheduled to hit the moon. On the night, like the rest of her family and neighbors, Miranda sets up her lawn chair to watch the show, and everybody cheers when the impact happens, but the cheers turn to screams as the moon starts to tilt.

The impact pushes the moon off its axis into a closer rotation with the earth causing immediate and massive tsunamis that wipe out millions. Soon after worldwide seismic disturbances cause vast earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. For a few days a sense of normalcy is maintained in Miranda's community - the school sends out notices, the electricity runs intermittently, but before long the structure of society starts to collapse; panic is rife. Miranda's family join others ransacking the local stores for all the supplies they can carry, and soon a devastatingly cold winter closes in brought on by volcanic fallout. Miranda, her two brothers and their mother hunker down to ride it out in the family home; but conditions go from bad to worse and the family are soon faced with tough decisions if they are to survive.

Pfeffer keeps nearly all the death and violence off stage, instead she focuses on the stresses on Miranda and her immediate family as they manage the day-to-day necessities of survival , cutting enough wood to keep themselves warm and rationing the ever decreasing supplies of food, while wondering if there is any point carrying on when they haven't heard sight nor sound from another human in months.

Miranda's diary entries record her changing viewpoint as her perspective shifts from self-centered adolescent angst, through anger and petulance, to eventual resignation in this challenging coming-of-age novel that has drawn comparisons to Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now and The Diary of Anne Frank.

This review was originally published in February 2007, and has been updated for the May 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we've changed their lives ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -