Day Eight, Life As We Knew It, Chapters 20-21

May 19, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Life As We Knew It | 12 Comments

Life As We Knew It
Day 8
Chapters 20-21

Chapter 20
Jon and Miranda keep practicing on the skis.
They feast on fried tulip bulbs.
February 20th. Jonny decides to go to one meal a day too.
February 22nd. Electricity for the first time in months and months and months. It’s on for only three or four minutes.
Radios. There are stations out there broadcasting again. True the news is depressing. But it’s proof that there are other survivors out there.
February 28th. A taste of despair.
March isn’t going well at all.
March 6th. Mom asks Miranda to skip a meal every now and then. To give up her one meal a day every day position so that Jonny and Matt can live longer.
March 12th inventory.
Looking into the mirror.

Definitely chapter 20 is one of the hardest chapters to read.

Chapter 21
“By the time I fell asleep last night, I knew what I was going to have to do today. The only question was would I have the strength.” (327)
Miranda’s trip to the post office. The town looks dead, deserted.
“But then I saw a glimpse of yellow.”
It’s a small spark of hope. But still.
Her walk to City Hall.
Promise of more.

Bags of food. Electricity coming on a little bit each day. Still unpredictable spurts. But they were able to have a luxurious meal prepared in the microwave.

Miranda’s birthday.
I loved the last passage.

“A while ago Jonny asked me why I was still keeping a journal, who I was writing it for. I’ve asked myself that a lot, especially in the really bad times.
Sometimes I’ve thought I was keeping it for people 200 years from now, so they can see what our lives were like.
Sometimes I’ve thought I’m keeping it for that day when people no longer exist but butterflies can read.
But today, when I am 17 and warm and well fed, I’m keeping this journal for myself so I can always remember life as we knew it, life as we know it, for a time when I am no longer in the sunroom.” (337)

So what did everyone think? Like it? Love it? Hate it? How hopeful are you? Has it changed the way you think about the world, about life? What lasting impressions do you have about it? Would you recommend it to others? What about it really stuck out to you? What do you think you’ll take away from this experience of reading it? Are you going to want to read the companion novel The Dead and The Gone?

Also while I’ve got a semi-captive audience, we’ve got THE WORTHING SAGA by Orson Scott Card for June and THE ACCIDENTAL TIME MACHINE by Joe Haldeman for August…July is still open. If you’ve got suggestions I’m open. While they may not make it for July necessarily, they may make it for another month if I decide it’s something I’m going to want to read (or possibly reread).

I’ll make another posting about what I’m thinking…but I’ve got nothing determined determined yet.



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  1. I loved it…absolutely loved it! I’m reading The Dead and the Gone right now and it’s great too, though it’s a bit depressing to start all over from the beginning again :p The only thing I hated about the ending is that it ended! Which means her journal ended…what does that mean? Why did she stop writing? She never said “I’m going to stop keeping this journal now” which would’ve made me feel better. I mean, I know the book had to end sometime, but I would’ve felt better if Miranda would’ve said something about leaving the journal. After that long trek into town with nothing sustaining her, she could have serious health problems…even after receiving food and whatnot.

    I’m definitely in for Worthing Saga and Accidental Time Machine!

  2. Edit to add: Rereading the last few lines…in fact she says “I’m keeping this journal for myself…” So while it ends on a hopeful note, it also leaves you to wonder…

  3. Chris, Susan Beth Pfeffer is hard at work on the third novel. 🙂 She’s hoping that people will show much love for The Dead and The Gone and that her publishers will beg for the honor of publishing book number three in the series. Anyway, she’s got a great sense of humor. She’s blogging about her work in progress. But while she isn’t giving all the juicy details away, we faithful readers do know that the protagonist is Dad & Lisa’s baby…it’s set seventeen or so years later…and the book is his journey to meet his half-family. She’s already got a brilliant last line for the novel…any guesses….???

  4. Is the first line, “Life as I have always known it?” 🙂 Or Here and Now?

  5. It brings the books full circle, let’s say. 🙂 You can read this post for more.

  6. Starting the last 2 chapters I feel very sad. Sad that it is coming to an end and sad because I am not sure we will know what happens to Miranda and her family and apprehensive because if it’s bad I am not sure I want to know. Anybody else feeling this way?

    Electricity flashes on again. Is this a good sign that it is going to start coming on again? It’s odd that they haven’t had electricity for so long that it took them a while to figure out what happened when it came on.

    Town Hall is open and there is food! Why aren’t these guys going door to door? You can tell which houses smoke are coming out of and people may know where others are alive. Talk about just sitting on your hands! Hello! I really think they could do better. If nothing else and get a big bullhorn walking up and down the street yelling “Free Food” or “Government sent food – come and get it!” or even just getting the ice cream truck bell and going up and down making that noise even though it is cold I bet people will come out.

    I am glad the book ended on a hopeful note, but I hope Susan Beth Pfeffer writes a book continuing this one…maybe Dan’s story or Dads or something or even Sammi. I don’t like not knowing what happened to them and I am sure they all had grand adventures.

    I have “Dead and Gone” reserved at the library already.

    I wonder if Susan Beth Pfefferer got depressed writing this book. I know there were times I was depressed reading it. What made her think of this book – what inspired her to write it? Was it Y2K and all the end of the year talk?

  7. You can read my interview with her here. And Jackie of Interactive REader has a fresh interview with her that was just posted today.

  8. Overall – I LOVED IT! I would highly recommend it! I think it is a great book for teens too – I think it will give them a big appreciation of all the things they/we take for granted.

    I think this will be one of those books that stay with me a long time! I was in Costco this weekend looking at all the options and thinking how lucky we are – not that I could buy them all but they were there!

    I am going to read Dead & Gone when I have several hours to read it all at once! 🙂

  9. I loved this book and am so glad I read it. I don’t think I can remember the last time I cried so much during a book. I was happy they found new hope at the end. I was really getting worried for them. This book definitely made me think of all the things that are taken for granted every day, how lucky we are, and how quickly things can change. I plan to read the second book as soon as possible.

  10. I really, really loved it and want to read the next one in the series. I’m intrigued by novel 3 now too.
    I thought it ended on a really hopeful note that life will resume maybe not as they knew it but it will resume into a society.
    I’m just so glad no one died I was sure Mom wasn’t going to make it and then after Matt got so sick I was sure he wasn’t going to make it. So I was very happy they all survived. Until I read Chris’ comment and now I’m wondering if again!
    I completely agree with Darcie why weren’t they doing more to get the message out about free food?
    I’m hopefully in for June depending on the dates.

  11. Ok…I feel sooooooooooo much better now 😀 So Miranda will be making an appearance in BOOK 3!!! Which means she’s alive and survived to the ripe age of 33. That’s great 🙂 Love the last line! It’s also comforting to know that Lisa had the baby! Great news that there will be a book 3!

  12. tulip bulbs – do you know I didn’t know those could be eaten…lol!

    So what did everyone think? Like it? Love it? Hate it? I totally loved the book. How hopeful are you? I was afraid of the ending. I held my breath all the way, praying they’d be okay – ALL OF THEM. Has it changed the way you think about the world, about life? What lasting impressions do you have about it? It stayed with me for about four days after I read the book. (long time for me.) It was an emotional book. Would you recommend it to others? YES. YES. YES. What about it really stuck out to you? Their pain, suffering, their loss, that maybe something like this could happen to us. What do you think you’ll take away from this experience of reading it? I viewed the things we took for granted a bit different, like running water and the A/C. Are you going to want to read the companion novel The Dead and The Gone? I’d like to, but I have so many books to review. I’m not sure I’ll be able to.

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