Book Review: Life as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

ImageAnother dystopian novel to go with the fad of the end of the world. Except this time, it’s the end of our world.

Life as We Knew It shows how the world could come to the end and what humans do to survive this. In this book, the moon gets pushed out of orbit and closer to the Earth from a giant asteroid and the environment goes crazy. The tides are bigger and stronger due to the moon. Also, earthquakes and tsunamis terrorize the people as well as volcanic eruptions that spew enough ash to cover up the sun. The food runs low, the people get ill, and the world basically comes to an end.

That being said, all of those problems were interesting to read. This book was certainly a page-turner. It is written as a girl’s diary and her struggles to keep her and her family alive. It crossed between a normal life of a teenager and a survival account. Incorporating her average, every day thoughts and the thoughts of apocalyptic strategies made the book real. Too real.

I read about half of Life as We Knew It in the car during a storm. Reading about all the drastic weather in it and hearing real-world thunder made me freak out a little. Okay, a lot. The things the characters went through made me jumpy and nervous and too aware that this theoretically could happen. Sometimes I even felt I couldn’t eat, because there wouldn’t be enough food. Which sounds crazy, I know. It would have been different if it took place way off into the future or on another planet, but setting it in modern times made it very frightening. I still can’t even watch apocalyptic movies like 2012 because it scares me so much. I constantly thought things like, what if it was me? How would I handle this? What if it happened now? Susan Pfeffer made it seem so plausible.

On the other hand, it shows what an excellently written novel this is. Their world really came to life. It haunted my mind and kept me wrapped in the story line until I finished and even afterwards. 

There was one flaw I noticed in the plot that made me happier than anything in the world. This book was not scientifically correct. Sure, an asteroid could hit the moon and knock it off orbit, but that asteroid would have to be the same size or bigger than the moon, and it mentions that this one is quite a bit smaller. The astronomers miscalculated the density of the asteroid, which is why everyone was so unsuspecting. But how could every astronomer in the world be completely wrong? It seems pretty unlikely. Tsunamis occur because of underwater earthquakes, not because of the moon. Yes, the tides would get larger and probably wipe out some beach houses, but tsunamis wouldn’t be going on all the time. I also read on Goodreads that the closer moon being able to pull out magma from volcanoes is completely wrong. Instead of these flaws ruining the book for me, they couldn’t have made me more thrilled. It showed me that no matter how realistic it may seem, it was a work of fiction. Just remembering that made me feel better.

Due to how quickly I read Life as We Knew It and how into it I was, I’m going with 3/5 stars. Sadly, I’m not planning to read the sequels because I don’t want to go into another state of depression about the end of the world. I would not recommend this book to people who get overly attached to characters and people who get very emotional about their books! 

“I wonder if I’ll ever have to decide which is worse, life as we’re living or no life at all.” 
― Susan Beth PfefferLife As We Knew It


“I’m the one not caring. I’m the one pretending the Earth isn’t shattering all around me because I don’t want it to be. I don’t want to know there was an earthquake in Missouri. I don’t want to know the Midwest can die, also, that what’s going on isn’t just tides and tsunamis. I don’t want to have any more to be afraid of.
I didn’t start this diary for it to be a record of death.” 
― Susan Beth PfefferLife As We Knew It


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Life as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Unique Books | Stealing Pages

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  3. Pingback: Life As We Knew It, Susan Pfeffer: two challenges ticked | alberta reads

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