Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Harcourt, Inc: Orlando, 2006.

The impact of a meteor collision with the moon causes worldwide geographical disasters. Miranda chronicles her family's life during most of a year as everyone struggles to live without basic necessities, not to mention conveniences.

The story is based on a premise that I think is unlikely. I don't believe the moon would shift positions as a result of the impact. The rest of the story is believable. I can see us struggling to survive in a similar manner if we have another Great Depression which has become too much of a possibility, because of the "idiot" to which Pfeffer alludes in the book. I can also imagine that New Orleans has been experiencing some of these situations since Hurricane Katrina, except they have had some aid from others.

There are only a couple other details that detract from Pfeffer's reality: the family's well still works after losing electricity and there was no explanation of the source of food and gas at the end. The pump for my family's well requires electricity. Are there some in use in the U.S. that do not? There was a detail about rigging the furnace with a battery. Could this be done for the pump, too? I don't know if this was artistic license or the detail was missed. The food at the end could have been collected from houses of the dead, but the gas must have come from somewhere else. I feel certain that would have been used up quickly after the first catastrophes. To get gas from elsewhere would have required some plowing. A short explanation might have been nice. These are small things, though, compared to the reality of the book.

I'd like to know what prompted Pfeffer to write the story. It's a bit depressing, though it could have been much more so. I do recognize that teenagers don't necessarily mind depressing. They can handle dwelling on it better than most age groups. For myself, I continued reading because I do believe it could happen to us. I'm not sure my family could survive, and I wanted to see what solutions might help if my fears become reality.

The story was a surprise to me during a time when so many people seemed to be in a state of denial about how bad our economic outlook has become. For years I have been trying to talk to people about the idea that we are heading towards another Great Depression. People have looked at me like I'm nuts or a total wet blanket. (They are finally seeing the possibility, though officials and the media are still trying to downplay the seriousness of our situation). My husband has been angry with me for being so negative. Actually, I wanted people to see what I saw, so we could work towards preventing an economic collapse. If we can't avoid it, then I want to be prepared at least. I don't know if that is really possible, especially after reading this book.

related-natural disasters, catastrophic events, family life, diaries, science fiction, lack of necessities, deprivation

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