Monday, November 16, 2009

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Genre: Young adult
Publisher, Year: Puffin Books, 2004
Other Works: The Bride's Farewell, What I Was
Flags: Teen angst, Tenuous references
Rating: A+, or Must Read Now!
Challenges: Book Awards, Dystopya, Countdown
Premise: A teenage girl, Daisy, leaves her parents to live with her cousins in England. Soon after she arrives, a war breaks out. Left to their own devices, Daisy and her cousins fend for themselves before they get shipped out in different directions. Daisy and her little cousin Piper fight to survive, hoping to find a way to the ones they care about.

I had heard so many good things about this book, I was excited when it fit right in with a couple of challenges I wanted to do. When I picked it up from the library, I was surprised to see how short it is. But, don’t let that fool you—literary gems come in all shapes in sizes.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, but I have to say that I was very pleased with it in the end. I think Rosoff created a very fair and interesting depiction of the delicate and frank, not to mention hormonal, teenage look at the instability of our world. Daisy is a complex character and her voice is strong and resonating. Although she is a flawed character, there’s something pure about her as well, which I found refreshing and puzzling at the same time. +/-

I also enjoyed the author’s writing style, with misplaced capitalization and sans quote marks. Usually things like that add a level of difficulty and confusion (Who’s talking? Where did that that thought end and this one begin? I’m lost!). But I really felt these grammatical liberties enhanced the flow of conversation, provided a bit of levity for such a serious topic, and made the plot altogether easier to follow—which seemed a considerable feat.

I think this is a book every teenager should read. Having said that, there are scenes that my disturb you or offend your moral code. However, I believe Rosoff has approached these subjects in a way that not only faces hard fact but also increases understanding, in a world where very little makes sense. I came away from this book with a new perspective on life, or perhaps an old perspective (my own teenage one) being asked to think about subjects I rarely pondered on at that age—instability and war and pain. And that is the reality for far too many young people today. Rosoff’s book is truly a thing of beauty—highly recommended.


Angiegirl said...

I am so tickled you read this and loved it! It is a book near and dear to my heart and where I got the name Piper! There's just something incredibly fierce and moving about it. I love Daisy and her beautiful cousins. And I love, love, love the ending.

Cam said...

Thanks, Angie! Yes, it was a fantastic recommendation. I thought it was an amazing book! I also agree about the ending; it was just right.