Friday, April 12, 2013

How I Live Now

by Meg Rosoff
published: Wendy Lamb Books, 2004
pages: 194

15-year-old Daisy is sent off to England to live with her cousins, when war breaks out.  London is targeted with bombs and Daisy and her cousins try to survive without power and parent supervision.  She and her cousins form an ironclad bond that may help them survive in a world under attack.

I really enjoy the voice of the story.  It is told from the Daisy's point of view, which is intriguing that the story of a third world war would be told from a teenager's point of view. Most war novels I've read have been told from a soldier's or adult's point of view, so seeing this war in the eyes of a teenager is compelling, especially because of what she has to say about it.

The way Daisy describes the war really caught my attention while reading.  She already has so much going on in her head, the war doesn't seem real, especially because she and her cousins lived in a utopia of sorts while the rest of England was fighting what seemed an unbeatable enemy.  They know it's going on but it doesn't seem real to them because they haven't seen any repercussions other than the power going out.  This sounds like the kind of obliviousness some parts of the world live in during wars. When the chaos going on outside crashes into their little world, they have to fend for themselves.

Daisy is one of the most compelling characters, we get to know her quite well because of the stream of conscious style writing.  We are aware that she has some issue, big issues, when she arrives in England, but we don't know for sure everything because they are just hinted at.  As the story continues there is a subtle change in the writing, as Daisy's head becomes a little clearer the writing becomes simpler, more directed, whereas in the beginning of the story, the writing is all over the place because that's where she was in her life.
All of these little details make this book a great read.

Meg Rosoff's gets inside the mind of a teenage girl with issues and explores the meaning of survival, friendship and love.  She left me satisfied and wanting to read everything else she has written.

Stars: 4/5


"A daring, wise, and sensitive look at the complexities of being young in a world teetering on chaos, Rosoff's poignant exploration of perseverance in the face of the unknown is a timely lesson for us all."
     --People Magazine

"That rare, rare thing, a first novel with a sustained, magical and utterly faultless voice.  After five pages, I knew she could persuade me to believe anything."
     --Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

"This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century...Readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser, and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity."
     --Publishers Weekly, Starred

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