Friday, May 08, 2009
Life as We Knew It
Miranda's family lives a nightmare when the moon, hit by an asteroid, is moved closer to the earth, setting off a series of natural disasters akin to those that killed the dinosaurs.
One of the quotes on the back of the book is, "It was kind of like a car crash I couldn't stop looking at." That's exactly what it was. I hesitate to say it's good, but it's definitely enthralling. I had a hard time putting it down, despite its anti-feel-goodness. Miranda's narration is so bland at times ("And then [Mom] started crying. That was two hours ago. I don't think she's stopped crying yet.") that it made me feel as numb to the tragedy as she did. But then there's also some emotion. She alternates between futility and hope.
I had a hard time figuring out why. Why write a tragedy of a book? (And I'm not saying anything about the ending, just that the premise is a series of natural disasters that challenge the family's ability to survive.) Why read a tragedy of a book? What was I supposed to get out of it? But AHA! It's like an Oprah book! Miranda is in this terrible situation, and there's some personal growth. Whereas she starts out the book a selfish teenager, all these challenges provoke some emotional change. So there, that's the point. But it still feels like staring at a car crash.