BOOK HUNGRY: life as we knew it

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by susan beth pfeffner


what it’s about from amazon: Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

my opinion: i first read this book in december of 2009 and i’ve thought about it pretty much every month since. i wouldn’t classify it as a favorite book of mine because as soon as i finished it, i was relieved to be done and i didn’t want to ever read it again. why not? because this book? it is terrifying. not in a scary monster chasing you, things popping up to startle you, but in a way that this. could. happen.

and i don’t know if i’d survive if it did.

(side note: i checked the pantry at least five times while reading this to take stock of the canned goods we had on hand to see if my family could handle the moon shifting out of orbit.)

i willingly chose this book for this month and forced myself to read it again because i was curious to re-read it as a writer and not as a reader. this time around, i was still completely freaked out, but the fact that it wasn’t snowing out certainly helped and looking at it with an analytical eye definitely served to soothe the nerves.

even still, this read left me feeling completely desolate and isolated and creeped out.

this book is so hard to explain because it’s well written and compelling, but not in a good way. you don’t really want to know what happens, but you have to know things get better for everyone, or well, at least for the evans family. and so i kept reading.

(another side note: i love my sleep. there isn’t much that can keep me awake, but this book did. i read until the wee hours of the night hoping and searching for something redeeming even though i already knew how it ended.)

the other interesting thing about this book (besides the situations) is the characters. for one thing, miranda’s attitude is spot on. sure, she can be whiny and self-pitying, but that’s a completely normal attitude for a teenager. it just so happens she now lives in a world that’s absolutely abnormal and so her attitude can sometimes seem off-putting, but yet, still completely age appropriate. the mother was sturdy and consistent. the brothers are strong and reliable. this family survives in a world probably not many of us would want to survive in.

that’s probably why this book still haunts me.

i mean this literally.

various scenes and comments and characters and situations plague my brain and this story hovers over me as if it’s an overbearing mother, which, i’m grateful to have and who would probably save my family if something like this book actually happened.) what was i saying? oh yes, the EMOTIONS and SITUATIONS in this story are raw and honest and scary and true and overwhelming, which is what classifies this as a top notch book in my opinion because any book that can make you feel is one that deserves to be read.

and this book? oh yes, this book makes you feel EVERY SINGLE TERRIFYING AND BORING SECOND.

and, to quote patty from our group’s discussion, “i felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that this book was fiction.”

ME TOO. oh, me too.

now the real question is, will the other ladies forgive me for making them read something so horrifying (albeit compelling) during a month that’s usually filled with christmas cheer?

next month, we’ll break away from the dark theme of this month + of karla’s usual reading choice as she has us take on AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green.

//

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8 Responses to “BOOK HUNGRY: life as we knew it”

  1. Patty Blount Says:

    You know, I like a good fright once in a while… but I like the kind that you laugh at because you know it’s not real, it’s never gonna happen.

    That’s the problem with this story. It’s so freakin’ plausible, it makes you question everything you thought you believed.

    • abby mumford Says:

      i don’t like any kind of fright, really, and so i truly appreciate y’all’s willingness to dive in and read this with me! what troopers you are!

  2. Linda G. Says:

    Hmm. I tend to prefer books I want to escape into, not escape from. This one probably isn’t for me.

    • abby mumford Says:

      i’m the same way, but this book caught me off guard and really stuck with me. i needed my book hungry gals to read it too because it’s so different than anything i normally read.

  3. Kelly Breakey (@kbreakey) Says:

    I didn’t keep checking the pantry, but I sure did want to run out and buy as many canned goods as I could get my hands on. The worse thing for me was when I realized if this happened, I wouldn’t be able to charge my ipad. How freaking pathetic is that? I know, right?

    While this is a solid story, it was very depressing. Hopefully Karla really did come through and next month’s selection will be peppy.

    • abby mumford Says:

      this story really makes you stop and think “what would i do?” “how would i survive?” this family is lucky they had the mom’s foresight and i’m pretty sure you and the captain would sail through this catastrophe.

      provided a tsunami doesn’t hit florida.

  4. Karla Nellenbach Says:

    I’m not holding any grudges, Abs. I loved reading this book. Yeah, i was terrified, and yes, i did check my pantry more than a few times, but it’s all good :)

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