Life as we knew it

May 29, 2009
By Sifa Mosiori BRONZE, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Sifa Mosiori BRONZE, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Life As We Knew It

I read the book Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It was published by Harcourt Inc. in 2006 and has 337 pages (only the story). Its genre is science fiction. This book shows the suffering of a family in a crisis when a meteor hits the moon. This is a brilliantly written book, and I really loved reading it.
Life as we knew it is about how everything goes wrong in a family’s life after a meteor hits the moon. As a result the moon gets too close to Earth and causes natural disasters. The author’s purpose was to make the reader envision how life would be different if the event actually did happen. The experience that the family goes through shows that life as we know it will be a thing of the past. The story is really exciting and well written. The author keeps you in suspense from the beginning to the end. As a reader, I could not wait to find out what would happen next as I was reading.
The setting of the story is in rural Pennsylvania. It mostly takes place in the Evans’ house and some other places in their town. The main character is Miranda Evans. Other major characters are Miranda’s mother, Miranda’s brothers Johnny and Matt Evans, Mrs. Nesbitt their neighbor, Miranda’s dad, Miranda’s step-mother, Lisa, Miranda’s mother’s boyfriend, Peter, Miranda’s best friend, Megan, and Dan, her boyfriend. The story is written from Miranda’s point of view in the form of a diary. Miranda is a sixteen year old girl who lives with her mother and younger brother Johnny. Her oldest brother Matt is away at college. Her parents are divorced. Her dad lives with Lisa, the woman he’s married to.
The news about the meteor hitting the moon was exciting to everyone in the town because the event was going to be visible. On May 18th the day the meteor was to hit at 9:30 pm everyone is so energized. As Miranda says it, “Even though we knew it was going to, we were still shocked when the asteroid actually made contact with the moon.” (p. 18) I love the quote because you can nearly sense the emotions of the character. No one expected that the moon would get closer to the earth. “It was tilted and wrong and a three-quarter moon and it got larger, way larger, large like a moon rising on the horizon, only it wasn’t rising.” (p. 23) Following that moment, things just started going terribly wrong. At that point in the story the reader knows everything in the world will change, but will it improve or worsen?
The meteor event affected communication via satellite in the entire country. After the meteor hit, Miranda’s family went into their house and checked the national news networks to find out what was happening, but they were out of service. They checked the local news which was running. The network didn’t know more then they knew. Miranda’s mom tried to call Matt but the call didn’t go through. They went to go check their e-mails but the internet was not working. The post office was still open, and courier was the only way of communication with relatives until a blizzard caused it to close.
The moons closeness to planet earth was affecting the tides, and the east coast was being hit with twenty feet or higher tides, causing terrible floods. “AP is reporting that the Statue of Liberty has been washed out to sea.” (p. 23) That made Miranda’s family feel miserable, but they thought they would be secure because they lived inland. There were also reports of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions causing severe air pollution. Miranda’s family didn’t think that they would be affected, but a few days later they could see that the sky was gray with smog. Power outage happened a lot for a while and to a point where there was no electricity any more.
The moon situation also caused an economic crisis. Because oil refineries were flooded, the cost of gas shot up to $12/gallon. People chose to travel only for important matters. Many stores were closed because delivery was impossible. There was a shortage of food, medical supplies and everything. Many people abandoned their jobs because they wanted to go south. They heard reports that it was better there. The police and fire departments closed. Hospitals were still opened, but there were not enough doctors and nurses.

Miranda’s family had to find ways of dealing with the different problems caused by the crisis following the moon situation. Before the stores closed, Miranda’s mother was smart enough to get a lot of groceries that would last for a long time. Later on, when the stores closed, the family had to eat less to save food. The family was also fortunate to have a wood furnace in the house. So Johnny and Matt, who had finally found his way home safely, started cutting wood for the furnace to store for the winter. In winter they had to find a way of keeping warm by sleeping in the sun room where the furnace was. They also had to remove the snow from the roof so it wouldn’t collapse on them.
There was also a family crisis that caused Miranda to take more responsibility in the house. One day Miranda heard a scream and went to see what happened. She saw that her mother had tripped and injured her ankle. Miranda had to get Peter, her mother’s boyfriend, from the hospital where he worked. Peter told Miranda that her mother would have to rest for about 2 weeks also not walk on that ankle. For that reason Miranda had to cook and do all the chores all by herself.
Miranda had to deal with many different life crises due to the natural disasters and economic down turn that were caused by the meteor event. Some people who were close to her, like Peter, Megan, and Mrs. Nesbitt died. Her best friend Sam and her boyfriend Dan moved south. The separation made her sad because she knew that she would not see them again. Miranda was also concerned about her safety on her way to school. So, she decided to be homeschooled. Another problem was uncertainty. She didn’t know if her grandmother in Las Vegas and her father were still alive. If you like the story so far, then you should read the book just to find out what happens. When Matt, Johnny, and their mother get sick who will save them? Will they die when the food starts running low?

Death, separation, uncertainty and hopelessness caused fear and sadness in Miranda’s life. There were also moments of happiness. Miranda and her brothers learned how to ski to be able to travel in winter when there was an emergency. This was really fun for all of them. There were also times when they had feasts. For instance when Matt got a chicken from the post office where he worked, it was a big thing for the family and they had a feast and invited their friends Peter and Mrs. Nesbitt. When Mrs. Nesbitt died in November, Miranda got Matt and Johnny to help get food from her house. As Matt and Johnny were getting the food Miranda was looking around and found some baseball cards, a box of chocolates, and color pencils and a drawing book. All these would be presents for her family for Christmas. She thought they would be so surprised and happy.

The book Life as we knew it did really achieve the author’s purpose. I think that if what happened in the story really did happen then I would think life would be like Miranda’s family’s life. I think the writing is effective because you feel the characters ‘emotions. For instance, when Miranda’s friend Sam left, I felt like if I knew I would never see my friends again I’d be heartbroken. So I think I can appreciate having friends a little more. The time Miranda had to tell her mom that Peter was dead; I could feel her mother’s sadness. This book is also powerful because Miranda is really suffering. She doesn’t eat like she normally would. It takes a strong person not to break down and to be brave most of the time. The strengths of the book I think are when it’s her birthday and they get the food from city hall. They had hope and faith again that everything will be okay. The way the book ends is a weakness. The author does not give information about whether life got better or if everyone in the family died. The author could have added an afterword. I have found that overall the book is incredibly remarkable. It teaches the reader that it if you lose your faith, you can regain it and survive. I would recommend the book to others because it really is a good story that shows how people survive or die in a world crisis.

The book Life as we knew it really shows how the global tragedy changes a family’s life
forever. I think the story was marvelous to read and I would read it again. I also feel as if the story tell
how people in reality suffering from earthquakes, floods, and volcano eruptions. Those people may
suffer a great pain that Miranda’s family had in the story. The story is not only about survival. It is also
about a family’s love, helping, caring, and opening arms to each other. That’s why I know you should
read it.

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This article has 1 comment.

ColinWalsh said...
on Jul. 10 2016 at 12:00 pm
ColinWalsh, Ya Mum, Kansas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I know there are no pictures in the book but is it possible for you to put descriptions for the ability for someone to draw them thanks.


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