13 in ’13 Reading Challenge: How I Live Now

Good morning!

Before we start this post I should just warn you that I stayed Up Far Too Late last night being completely immersed in the world that Meg Rosoff created so deftly in “How I Live Now” and the main character whose name is Elizabeth but who goes by Daisy is fifteen years old andΒ  sharp and fast and funny and sad and fierce and narrates in seemingly endless sentences that take up entire paragraphs but that sound exactly Like a 15 Year Old You Know when you’re following along and you don’t even realize they’ve left you breathless until you get to the end and by then you can’t wait to keep going to see What Happens Next.

In case you couldn’t tell, Wonderfuls, “How I Live Now” is unlike anything I’ve read so far in this Challenge. When I first talked about it a couple of weeks ago, I called it “visceral and wonderful and raw and emotional” and now, 147 pages later, I’m thinking that I need to revise that statement, because it doesn’t even begin to cover how impacted I feel after reading this book and how deeply attached I became to these characters in that short time.

(I’m even finding myself thinking and sounding like Daisy – did you notice?!?)

Much like in “Ender’s Game”, “How I Live Now” plops us down in the middle of a future world that looks a little like ours but isn’t, really, and simply expects us to keep up. The difference here is that Daisy is older, and more cynical, than my beloved Ender, so while she may be equipped to understand more of what’s happening around her, she’s also much less inclined to trust any of it. There’s a war going on, you see, and there’s all kinds of misinformation out there.

The story begins with Daisy being sent to stay with cousins on a remote farm in the English countryside during the outbreak of a third world war at an unspecified time in the 21st century. It continues with Daisy discovering a family she never knew she had and then fighting to keep that family together in circumstances she could never have imagined.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s also a love story?

How I Live Now coverI’m not even going to talk about that part of the novel here, because my emotions are still too close to the surface and I don’t particularly feel like weeping all over my laptop this morning. I will say, though, that this element of the story was a source of some controversy when it was published a few years ago, so if you’re a parent you may want to do a little Googling before suggesting this book for your child’s first back to school book report of September.

Speaking only for myself, all I can say is that while I can understand why the romantic relationship between Daisy and another character may have raised some eyebrows, Daisy’s description of what it feels like to be a teenager in love might be the most honest and truthful account of that experience that I’ve come across in fiction. (And this is coming from the girl who has reread “Romeo and Juliet” nearly every year since tenth grade English. For fun).

If you’ve already read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. If you haven’t, I’d love to know who the last fictional character you became emotionally involved with was! Either way, let’s talk in the Comments. I could use your company today!

I’ll do my best to lighten the mood with tomorrow’s Wordful Wednesday. In the meantime, I need to pull myself together and find myself some chocolate.

love amb

24 thoughts on “13 in ’13 Reading Challenge: How I Live Now

  1. Sounds full on! But in a good way. I have not read it, so I’ll answer the other question…
    The last character I became emotionally involved with, was, um, oh… I don’t know, I’m not thinking today. It is a brain-free day. Which is tricky, because I’m attempting my assignment due on Friday. Yeah, that’s not working. Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to comment so I feigned an attempt to answer your question prompt. *shrugs shoulders* πŸ˜‰

    I did enjoy the post though! So there’s that excuse to comment, too. Yeah, I could’ve just used that…

    • It’s super full on – might take me a couple of days to come back to the “real world” now that I’ve finished. The characters are still on my mind!

      You know you never need an excuse to comment around here Maverick! Who are we kidding – I’d get all flibbertigibity even if you just pop by to say hi. Have you not figured that out over the past few weeks? Have I been too shy and retiring when I’ve been talking to you?!? πŸ˜‰

      Such good luck with your assignment! Here’s hoping the “With Distinction” trend continues! xoox

      • Meh, the real world is overrated! Stay in your mind, it’s much more interesting in there. πŸ˜‰

        Well, that is effectively what I did. ‘Hi!’ And yes, you are so incredibly shy. How on Earth am I going to coax you out of your shell?? Haha.

        Thank you! I’ve just had a hard slog at it. Another tomorrow and hopefully I’ll knock it on the head. Take care! I shall return in the morning for another ‘hello’!

  2. I’m reading Jeffrey Deaver’s latest Lincoln Rhyme book now. I feel like I get lost in pretty much every good book I read. Lincoln’s hard to get along with, but I always feel like I’m part of his team and miss them all when the story ends…

    • I used to love the Lincoln Rhyme series, but I haven’t read one in ages! I love him and his team, too. Such a totally unique group of characters. Have you seen the movie “The Bone Collector”? What did you think of the casting of Denzel and Angelina?

      • I enjoyed that movie, but it’s so weird to weird the books because Lincoln is clearly white and not Denzel. Amelia Sachs, though, could definitely be Angelina. I actually own the hardcover of The Bone Collector…

  3. I am so intrigued, I may just have to read this next! I am almost done the Paperboy (yes the one I started at the end of April when I was in TO for our visit! I know I know it’s terrible, but it’s been a busy summer!) So I will have to donwload this one on my e-reader!

    Great post as usual, awesome cousin of mine! xoxo
    I promise to repsond to your email soon!

    • It’s a quick read (less than 200 pages) so you might find it easier to get through than the Paperboy. And listen, my lovely, there is NOTHING wrong with having a busy summer! That’s how it’s supposed to be! πŸ™‚

      So glad you liked the post! And no rush on that email – goodness knows I kept you waiting long enough for mine! πŸ™‚

    • It IS great! Very unusual – in a good way. How’s it going with Blindness? I’m guessing you’ve been too busy to read much lately! You’ve had a lot going on!!

      • i’ve been avoiding blindness. 😦 i’ve even stopped taking it with me to read. i am just NOT motivated. i might try to read something else on my list for now… b/c times moving and i need to get through that list or i’ll be behind!

      • That’s happened to me with “Love 2.0” too – I keep putting it down and picking up other books instead! I’m losing steam with that one, for sure.

  4. intriguing. googled it and see there’s a movie do out this year–you will see? Also a reference to “modern day Jayne Eyre.” Can see why you like! I think I’ll not as sounds too heavy and I can’t afford to get emotionally involved with anyone fictional right now. Too much on the real life plate! Gotta keep it light. I do appreciate being whisked away in fiction, but I gotta keep my distance. Great review and I’m glad you’re another book closer. Maybe I missed it, but how many is this for you?

    • I sure will! And will likely talk about it at BoFN too, as the young star has quite the name πŸ™‚

      You definitely have a lot on your real life plate right now, and I can totally see why you’d want to keep it light! No sense getting whisked away if the place you’re getting whisked too is dark and depressing.

      I believe this is number 8 for me … thanks for the reminder, I should update my Bookshelf page!

  5. Hi Amb!!

    Just last night, as I went to bed EARLY, I thought how nice it would be to be snuggled in and engrossed in a really good book as I drifted off to actual sleep, but I don’t have a book that I have started lately, and so instead I flitted among little snippets of mostly unsatisfying online material and at the same time decided that i MUST find a new book to read and get lost in and made it a point today to find a great book to start. {see what I did there?}

    I think you have solved my dilemma. And, that’s awesome!! I just ordered it for my e-reader!


    • Yay for going to bed early! Oh, you rule. I’m so excited that you’ve ordered this one for your e-reader, but I’m worried that it’s not going to help you get any actual sleep! I apologize in advance for any late nights this one causes for you, my friend.

      That said, I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!! xoxo

  6. After reading this, I put How I Live Now on hold at the library. Like, immediately. It sounds fantastic.

    Also, I hope you find some chocolate. And wine. Plenty of wine. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets so emotionally invested in fictional people. πŸ˜‰

    • That’s awesome! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. It really is fantastic.

      I’m happy to report that I did indeed find chocolate and wine tonight. I’m so happy you know what it’s like to have intense fictional relationships! It’s been a heavy few days πŸ˜‰

  7. Pingback: Survey Says? You’re All Wonderful! | words become superfluous

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