Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Surviving planet Earth


Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti, not to mention massive tsunamis in recent years, makes chillingly real the premise of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It. The book came out in 2006, but I just read it so it's on my mind. We live on a planet in a universe where nature can upturn our lives in moments.
Pfeffer's YA novel, which was followed with The Dead and the Gone, grips you by the throat and keeps you struggling for breath as a girl and her family try to survive the climatic aftereffects of an asteroid striking the moon.
This story is more than a disaster tale, although there is plenty of devastation. At its heart it's a tale about family and love and hope, even when it seems there can be no hope left in the world.
Besides recommending this as a good read to anyone who has yet to discover it, I think as writers we can learn a thing or two about crafting a gripping tale with emotional heart.
I'm keeping it short and bittersweet today, but I do want to shout out a big hello and welcome to all the new people who have left comments and/or made themselves followers. I'm always humbled and honored you enjoy coming here.

32 comments:

Nickles said...

Oh, I've never heard of this. I'll have to check it out. And my heart goes out to everyone in Haiti.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

This one is definitely new to me, but sounds intriguing. I love how it takes the natural disaster concept away from Earth. Very cool. And how apropriate for the tragedy of today. Very insightful of you, Tricia. My hat's off to you.

Char said...

I will check this out - thank you.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm always intrigued by this kind of book concept. I'll check it out next time I'm at the bookstore.

And there's a little present for you on my blog. :)

Catherine Denton said...

Oooo, that sounds good!

Winged Writer

Shannon O'Donnell said...

It does sound like a timely read. We sponsor a girl at the Haiti Mercy Mission and were very worried yesterday. We found out today that Pignon wasn't damaged and the orphanage is safe. I'll read this book. Thanks for the recommendation, Tricia. :)

V. S said...

This sounds like a beautiful read. I sent a prayer over to Haiti and it's people.

Thank you for sharing.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Nickles: I do hope you like it.

Carolina: Thank you. I seem to be reading a lot of dystopian books lately, but the ones that linger have characters I care about. And this one was built around a real possibility, not fantasy.

Char: Great!

Thanks, Stephanie. I'm on my way over.

Catherine: If you like YA it sure is!

Shannon: Oh, I'm so glad the mission and children are okay--it's a horrifying tragedy.

Sarah said...

I'll have to check out Life as we Knew it!

Robyn Campbell said...

I shall trust you as I always do and buy the book.

Wasn't the earthquake awful? I want to go on a mission trip sometime soon.

I thank you for mentioning this. I hadn't even heard about it until a while ago. Pat, you are the one!

Hope the edits are coming along great. Thanks for the recommendation. :-)

Natalie said...

That sounds interesting Tricia. Thanks for the recommendation.

Bish Denham said...

This is another book on my to read list. And I blogged about Haiti, it being near my neck of the woods.

So terrible.

Donna said...

You are a brave reader, not bypassing the tough themes. So sad to hear of the devastation in Haiti. Kudos to Shannon for her support there.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Vicky: I missed you when I was answering before. My heart aches for those people.

Sarah: I think you'll like it.

Robyn: Kudos to you if you make that mission trip. They need so much help.

Bish: I know you will be glad to read it.
I feel so terrible that people are in such agony right now.

Donna: Brave in the safety of the pages, but sometimes it can rattle your world even on paper.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

oops now I missed Natalie: I think I'm rattled myself today.
I think you will like that book and, you're quite welcome.

Melissa said...

You're right. I read Life As We Knew It this past year and it stayed with me for weeks. It was very frightening how we could go through something like this.

Sarah Laurence said...

It is such horrible news about Haiti. I’m listening to the radio report as I type. I like how you tied current events to a book review. I’ve head a lot of good thing about this book.

Good luck with the diary contest below!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I hear about this book awhile back and forgot all about it. Will have to read it to my TBR list.
My heart goes out to the people of Haiti.
Click for My Blog

storyqueen said...

I've heard of this book, but never read it...is it as dark as it sounds? I don't think I can do realistic dark right now. Dark fantastical, maybe...


Maybe I just need some uplift!

Shelley

Paul Greci said...

Tricia,

This book sounds like one I would enjoy. I'm going to check it out.
Thanks,

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Melissa: I always know how much value a book or movie has by how it sticks. This one sure did.

Sarah: It's probably the news reporter in me that ties things together that way. (as for that contest, I didn't win but it was a good writing exercise and a chance to do something gutsy)

Karen: Oh yes, please do read it. I like that there is hope at the end, despite how the world changed.

Shelley: It is dark, but I don't think it is brutal, and there is hope. But if you are feeling the need of uplift, this might not be the time.

Paul: Oh, I hope you do. What makes it so scary and compelling, I think, is that it is a possible real life scenario, not vampires or zombies (which I'm not dissing).

Jemi Fraser said...

Definitely sounds worth checking out. Thanks!

Tess said...

So sad, what has happened in Haiti and my prayers are being sent to those struggling there. Those lost have already found peace.

And, I have heard of this book but usually choose to read as a fun escape. I don't think this novel offers that, so I never have read it.

Liza said...

Thanks for the recommendation!

Lisa and Laura said...

I've never heard of these books but they sound amazing. And I agree. The power of nature is overwhelming. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the earthquake. I am sick over it.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jemi: great, I hope you like it.

Tess: The suffering people in Haiti fill my thoughts, as well. It is terribly sad.
No, this book isn't fun escape, I'm afraid. It's compelling and important, though. I understand what you mean, since I take a pass on some movies and books I find too dark, but this does have hope in it.


Liza: Your welcome!

Lila: These books are worth the read; hope you get a chance to check them out.
The earthquake really drives home the storyline, I'm afraid--how what we take for granted can be gone in one devastating moment.

Linda Kage said...

Hearing about Haiti makes me realize how spoiled and blessed I am, living where I live. I might complain about ice and snow, but that's all so minor.

And thanks for bringing up "Life as We Knew it." I hadn't heard of that one before.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Linda: I get that same feeling when I hear of terrible disasters, especially in poor areas without ready aid. I know my occasional hardships are nothing compared to what these people suffer.
Life As We Knew It really explores these themes of how shocking it is to suddenly lose those things we are so used to--supermarkets, gasoline, electricity, communication.

Daisy Whitney said...

I saw this book reviewed recently on another blog as well. Must check it out!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Daisy: Please do!

MG Higgins said...

I just posted about this book today! I'd known about it for a while but it was your quote on Yat-Yee's blog that spurred me to buy it.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Mel: Glad to have spurred you!