July 01, 2009

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer's Compelling Read!

I have my colleague Liz to thank for recommending this young-adult piece of fiction, Life As We Knew It. She and I have discussed reading habits and reading strategies endlessly these past some years, and finally here is a piece which could lure even the most resistant reader. Ms Pfeffer has done a remarkable job of spinning a story around a catastrophic event that impacts the entire world, and she has done it with an ease and a simplicity which is both appealing though sometimes questionable. However, her tale is so captivating that it compels the reader to set aside his disbelief and go along with the flow of events as Ms. Pfeffer would have him do. As a reader, I felt like putty in the story teller's hand as she had me react exactly the way she would want. Now that is not something easy to do, and it is to the credit of the writer that she is able to anaesthicize the most alacritous of readers with her brilliant storytelling.

The earth's moon gets hit by a meteor and the moon is nudged closer to the earth, and therein lies all the action of Life As We Knew It, since the earth is now no longer how it used to be! Now it is upto the protagonist, Miranda, a young 14+ year old living in Pennsylvania to document her day to day life after this calamitous event. Written in the form of a diary, the account is simplistic as it is age appropriate, but it has the reader in its grip. Whether Miranda and her family survive this catastrophe, and if so how, is for each one to find out for himself, but here is a read worth undertaking as it is exciting and appears short because it is so compelling.

Having said that, I do have to admit that I had a few questions about the novel in hindsight. One of which I posted on this new writer's website, about the credibility of the story, and I am hoping to hear from Ms. Pfeffer about the same.
I have just posted her response to my questions in the 'comments'.


EXSENO said...

I've been wanting to find a good book.
This is definitely my kind of read.
I have to write down the title, so I won't forget it. There is no book store anywhere near where I live. So I have to travel far for a book.
I love suspense novels.

Id it is said...

It's a read you'll enjoy!
Why not order it on Amazon; it works out a lot cheaper that way especially if you don't mind a used copy. I have a link to Amazon on the post...

Mariana Soffer said...

-why don't you tell us what did she say, and what you think about it.

Id it is said...

Here is the exchange I had with Ms. Pfeffer:
July 1, 2009 9:09 AM
Id it is said...
What a page turner this proved to be!!
I would recommend this to any school district with poor reading scores. Here is a novel that will have students glued to it. As an educator who has seen both the reading and therefore also the writing skills deteriorate progressively across the US for the last so many years, I was excited to come across a piece of fiction that would make the most unlikely reader want to read this novel.
Congratulation to Ms Pfeffer.

Just an observation... the government intervention in the novel seems to be almost non existent and that was one part of the novel which seemed implausible escpecially in the context of this country; the most endowed in terms of its resources and its ability to wield power across public, scientific, political, and military domains. Had the setting been a country known to be wanting in its socio economic stability it would have lent more credibility to the story.

July 1, 2009 9:11 AM
Susan Beth Pfeffer said...
Happy July to Id it is-

One of my favorite things to hear is that reluctant readers enjoy my books, so I thoroughly approve of the idea that schools with low reading levels try LAWKI. My vocabulary level died at an embarassingly low age, which makes my books more accessible.

As far as government intervention goes, there's considerably more of it in the companion novel, the dead and the gone. That's set in New York City, and government intervention, as well as the strength of organized religion, is a big part of the story.

LAWKI is about isolation. The family there simply doesn't know what the government is doing, and frankly I doubt even the biggest most organized government in the world would expend much of its resources on a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania.

To a limited extent, what the government can and cannot do is part of This World We Live In as well.

Different books, different takes on the same situation!

July 1, 2009 10:10 AM
Id it is said...
Happy July to you too Susan! Thanks for that prompt reply and I look forward to reading "The World we Live in."

I just posted on LAWKI on my blog, I'd be delighted to have you visit.

July 1, 2009 12:28 PM
Susan Beth Pfeffer said...
Thank you kindly Id it is-

Google, which keeps no secrets from me, told me about your blog at the same time it told me about this comment. I appreciate your review, even though there was one word I didn't know the meaning of (I told you my vocabulary level had died young).

One of the things I find most interesting about LAWKI is how seriously people take it. I wrote it for fun, and never worried that readers would outthink me. But just the other day, a cousin of mine mentioned reading it, and he thought there should have been guns in LAWKI. I told him there were guns in d&g, so he should read that one also.

It's wonderful to have written books people care about, but it's also a little disconcerting!

July 1, 2009 12:41 PM

Mariana Soffer said...

Thanks a lot for telling me all that happen with it, it is pretty intresting indeed, alghouth somethings are the ones that always happen, and don-t seem to stop to occur.
It is a little insonsistent, or I do not know how to say it, it is not fully an integral pose, maybe is because I am still missing to much of the things and thoughts that happen before.

Anonymous said...

:) I had just finished on Camus' Exile and the Kingdom and was looking to read something very light. This could be it. Thanks Id.