How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Rating: 3.5 TBLs
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. (via goodreads.com)
I made a new friend at the library this week— she recommended this book to me (shoutout to Evan in the teen room, if you’re reading this!). I thought it was going to be sort of likeLord of the Flies— you know, no adults, children becoming carnal. But this book isn’t like that at all.
It’s told from the perspective of an outsider. Daisy is American, and the most American of Americans— she’s a New Yorker. Daisy comes with her own emotional baggage, including rage at her father, her stepmother (who, to be fair, sounds like a horrible person), and herself. Her first instinct is to push people away.
But none of Daisy’s character traits, which define her at the start of the book, matter when the bombs start to fall. And the synopsis is right— at first it doesn’t matter that there’s a war. Daisy is happy. Daisy is learning to love people. She and her cousins are so isolated that they basically live an idyllic, beautiful, peaceful life in the country, hanging out with farm animals and laying under trees, reading. It’s a time of major Daisy transformation.
The relationship between Edmond and Daisy is strange, though. Even though it plays a big part in the book… it’s a difficult thing.
And then almost as suddenly as these kids are on their own, they are thrust into separate situations that force them to deal with the realities of war in a way that is completely shocking and real-but-not-real.
Rosoff really addresses the aftermath of war. I mean, no one comes through a war without some kind of emotional scarring. And Rosoff faces it head on. Example: Edmond. And Daisy. And Piper. And Isaac. I mean, Osbert too, but Rosoff doesn’t seem to care so much about his character (in fact, he seems almost expendable and doesn’t particularly add much to the story at all.. I wondered why he was in the book).
The writing style is distinctive. It’s told from Daisy’s perspective, and it’s rather stream-of-consciousness. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it, either. It wasn’t uneffective— actually it was probably more effective than not effective, as it really kept the reader engaged in the immediacy of the action of the plot.
This book was a short and intense ride. Recommended for those who like war stories, survival stories, and stories about love.