How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. Source: Library. Format: Paperback, 194 pages, Wendy Lamb Books, Random House Children’s Books, 2006.
How I Live Now is a futuristic war-time novel, almost historical in feel; it takes place in the English countryside. The book is unique in that it has no quotation marks. It is simply Daisy’s point of view and her stream of thoughts. I had heard really great things about this book and was looking forward to reading it, especially because of it’s very short length. However, I was in a reading slump while reading this book, and while I powered through this book just to finish it, I know I didn’t enjoy or understand it nearly as well as I could have. I debated even reviewing it because I know my opinion isn’t a very full picture because I was making myself get through it. But here I am, writing a review. I’m going to just point out the things I do remember from it.
I liked the main character, Daisy, for the most part. She was spunky and smart and never gave up hope. I didn’t have too much attachment to any of the other characters; Piper a bit, Edmond barely, and the other brothers I barely even remember. The controversial subject of incest wasn’t explored too heavily in this book, probably because this is first and foremost a war time novel, not a relationship/romance novel. I wasn’t bothered by the taboo, but a likely reason for that is because I wasn’t very invested while reading this.
The buildup to the actual war and the occupation was slow. Idyllic, pretty–something out of a period drama film. Then the family got separated and it was still not very exciting. But, again, that was me being in a slump and not being in the mood to read anything. I have a feeling I missed a lot of important/interesting details. I did like the survivalist section that Daisy and Piper went through; that I remember liking a lot. And there’s one very gruesome scene that stuck with me because it was, well, so gruesome. The ending of the book was a bit unsatisfactory. There wasn’t much closure and everything felt vague. But that was probably me just racing through the last few pages…
I’m not proud of having read this book because I did a terrible job of actually reading it. I think I would have really liked and appreciated it if I hadn’t been having reader’s block. It won the Printz Award and, while awards and honors can honestly mean nothing in the scope of things, I tend to agree with the Printz judges or whoever selects the recipients. This book is different and unique and touches on some heavy material, but it was just not the right time for me to read it. Maybe I’ll return to it in the future.