Life As We Knew It follows Miranda's Diary in the events following a meteor knocking the moon closer to earth. She documents her family's survival in what seems like the end of the world. I think this may have been the first book that I've ever read told fully in diary entries. In truth, at the beginning of the book, I struggled to make sense of it. I didn't know if I liked it or if I really understood it. Slowly I became more invested in the story and I came to realize that it was a clever writing style.
Looking back and collecting my thoughts on Life As We Knew It, I've compartmentalized it into three parts. In the first third of the book, I was annoyed. I was still getting used to the writing style, but now I see that Miranda was just so obnoxious to me. Miranda was selfish, self-obsessed, ignorant, and I want to say immature. I put all of this down to the fact that her world was turned upside down. Suddenly food was scarce, electricity - hardly worked, troves of people are dying, summer now is suddenly winter now and that's not to mention the moon being an imposing figure in the sky. This brings us to the second part of the book.
It was still our moon and it was still just a big dead rock in the sky, but it wasn't benign anymore. It was terrifying...
In the second part, Miranda was just a jerk. She picked unnecessary fights with her mother, she was rude to her younger brother, Johnny, and she burdened her older brother, Matt, with her ignorance and complaints. Miranda wrote about wanting to be treated as an adult and to be included in conversations, that would decide what was next for the family, but also wanted to ignore the urgency of the situation. Miranda also was jealous of Johnny for being protected from the reality of the situation by Matt and her mother. Sometimes Miranda was just so terrible that I got angry.
I pictured Johnny on the farm, eating eggs and drinking milk and, for a second, I really hated him.
In the end, it really came down to an immediate life or death moment for Miranda's family that changed the game for me. Miranda has to make a choice to either give up hope or save her family. This is where we get to see Miranda change and mature. Sure She's still annoying, but less so now. We get to see Miranda learn what it is to be responsible and to put others needs before her own. At the end of Miranda's diary entries, we get to see how she's grown into a young woman in a time of desolate hope for survival.
...I'm keeping this journal for myself so I can always remember life as we knew it, life as we know it, for a time when I am no longer in the sunroom.
An honorable mention is Miranda's mom. Although she had to endure everything her kids did, she had to endure it as a mother. Throughout the story, we see her endless sacrifices for her kids and her doing everything within her power to make sure they are shown her love and are cared for. She does all that with grace and strength that I could only hope for in a situation like hers.
Life As We Knew It introduces a fresh spin on the "end of the world" trope and its execution is presented in an unexpected but obvious way. It wasn't my favorite book but it definitely gave me enough that I'm going to continue the series.
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