Life as We Knew It

Pfeffer, Susan Beth

My holds hadn't come in, so I grabbed this book from the YA shelf at the Tompkins Square branch of NYPL because I remembered the name Susan Beth Pfeffer from reading her YA books when I actually was a young adult. Weirdly the book didn't list all of her earlier works, just one recent publication, so I wasn't sure I had the person I remembered. I was shaky on her name and thought maybe Susan was the daughter of the Someone Beth Pfeffer I was thinking of. The Wikipedia page I viewed today didn't indicate any of the works I remembered either, but with a little digging, I found that she is indeed the author of classics like Marly the Kid, The Beauty Queen and Starring Peter and Leigh, none of which has a science fiction theme, btw.

In LaWKI, a cataclysmic event causes the moon and therefore the earth to go off their rails, leaving 16-year-old Miranda and her family trying to survive in a world they don't recognize. It's pretty terrifying in that their reality is highly plausible, though I have no idea if the science is or not. At one point Miranda writes in her diary, "It's funny how over the past few days I haven't feel like calling [my friends]. The phone's worked most of the time, but we haven't gotten many phone calls or made many. It's like we were so occupied with taking care of ourselves we didn't feel like we could handle anybody else's lives." I experienced the same thing in my Superstorm minidrama. Even though my tiny inconvenience of four days without electricity or head hardly compares to the dystopia Pfeffer creates or that others affected by Sandy face, I recognized the self-absorption that adversity wreaks.

In addition to being realistic, the story is completely absorbing, though you wonder how long it can go on with misery heaped on misery.

Nov 29 2012