It’s Not Paranoia: “Life As We Knew It”

LifeWhen the Moon is knocked out of orbit by an asteroid, it becomes a strange menace hanging low in the sky. And the world starts to end — or that’s what it feels like for teenage Miranda. Tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, and epidemics ensue as she chronicles her family’s struggle to stay alive through the collapse of their (and our) way of life in great and sometimes heartbreaking detail. Always believable, always human, Miranda’s story is harrowing, but it brings with it a multitude of rewards for the reader. And — at least on the topics I knew enough to be able to judge (public health, societal collapse) — Susan Beth Pfeffer gets it pretty much right.

I don’t have time at the moment to give Life As We Knew It the fuller take it deserves, but please, do read it. Especially if you’re secretly (or openly) obsessed with post-apocalyptic scenarios, societal collapse, deadly epidemics, etc. etc. Oh, I should caution though that you should also be a fan of fantastic writing and extreme emotional believability, in addition to that other stuff. This book is INTENSE.

And highly recommended. Thanks to Jennifer for pointing it out.

UPDATED: And it’s now up for the Andre Norton Award; yet another reason to check it out.

7 thoughts on “It’s Not Paranoia: “Life As We Knew It””

  1. This book freaked me the hell out. Not only did it make me want to start stockpiling food (and install a woodstove into our apartment), but it gave me nightmares! I’ve been recommending it left and right.

  2. I read this book earlier this year and I loved it. But I definitely agree with the intensity. Like Leila, I wanted to stockpile food, water, warm clothes and came to horrible realization that OMG, I don’t have a wood stove, I am going to die without electricity and gas. I can’t say enough good things about this book.

  3. Wow, this sounds fascinating, def going to pick it up. Any other recs for good post-apocalypse books? Have already read The Road (which I thought was outstanding) and just read Children of Men (I liked the film version better, though the book was a good read).

  4. It may be far too late to post this, but I picked it up last night and stayed in bed this morning until I finished it–sort of weird since Cavin is gone for the first time in months and we have no groceries. I have to keep reminding myself that everything is actually OK.
    As far as other post-apocalyptic books, I enjoyed World War Z far more than I had expected to, and it’s been coming to mind a Lot lately, not least because I’ve been sitting through freaky bioterrorism classes.

  5. Am so glad you liked it; I fear it has given me a grocery shopping problem. I notice I’m buying a lot of “add hot water” soups lately, and find myself thinking, “But what if I don’t _have_ hot water.”
    My d.j. is lots of bioterrorism talk lots of the time; we should compare notes.

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