Monday, August 11, 2014

How I Live Now

How I Live NowTitle: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Read: July 19, 2014

Summary: “Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story. goodreads

Review: I'm pretty sure this book has been making it's way around the blogosphere so you have probably already heard about it. To be honest, this book was a little weird. And no, I'm not referring to the cousin-love, I can deal with that, but it surprised how basic this story was. Now, let me try to explain (which I may fail miserably at because I'm not entirely sure how to put into words what I'm feeling), there isn't much background to any of the characters, the war is never fully explained, and the story, while yes, there is romance and that's part of it, really only boils down to basic survival skills. That being sad, I enjoyed the overall book but it took me a while to understand why.

First off, the characters. We know very little about Daisy other than she has been sent off by her father and wicked step-mother to live with distant relatives. We know she has a eating disorder (which I thought was cleverly revealed as the story went on) and a best friend in NY but that's about it. We know basic facts about her cousins but not much else as far as background goes. The relationship between Daisy and Edmond is lightly developed but it never gets too deep. Like I said, it's all very basic.

There there are the what-the-heck parts of the book that are never fully explained. For example, what was the telepathic thing? Who all had it and did they really have it or was it just a coping skill? Also, who started this war? Who all is involved? Why? There is a lot of unknown. Usually, this would really bother me but it didn't in this story. I took it for what it was an found an appreciation for the story of survival that really developed.

I think the blase attitude that Daisy and her family had about this "war" was very relatable. There are constantly battles going on around the world and we find a way to function despite them. That is, until they affect us directly. Take 9/11 for example. We all knew something was going on in the middle east but I guarantee the knowledge of the politics and what is happening over there increased ten-fold after the towers fell. So it makes sense to me that Daisy didn't really take the war seriously (you know, besides the fact that they were all just kids) until it showed up on her door step and she saw the immediate effects like no water or electricity. That's when the survival story of Daisy began.

The writing of this story was a little odd with very little punctuation and lots of random run on sentences but when we are introduced to Part Two of the story (which I wasn't expecting at all) it all makes sense and I actually think it was kind of genius! I liked the wrap up at the end and the ability for Daisy to explain a few things but mostly, I liked seeing the honest portrayal of how war can affect a family. It would have been easy to wrap it all up in a nice little bundle but instead, we were shown how Daisy lives now which is not perfect, but works for her.

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