A review of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
What I take away from reading most books is how they feel to me. This is different then how I feel while reading them which can impact my reading. But much like a particular day can be gloomy, sunny or ordinary, books can leave that same lasting impression. We also like to call this mood or tone. The best stories come together when the mood plays a role in the story, almost like another character, but it is almost unseen or subtle.
I bring this up because How I Live Now totally has a feel. It’s what brings the story it’s vividness. The story is fairly simply, a messed up girl gets sent by her family to live with British relatives. War breaks out leaving Daisy and her cousins to fend for themselves in a changed world. That simple summary or any other would not give you what the novel is about. It’s about living in England, its about living in a war, its about love, its about magic, its about survival. The story doesn’t tell you that directly though.
The book is written from Daisy’s perspective, almost like a diary and the writing reflects that. The dialogue is without standard punctuation, which usually annoys me, but works in this case. It gives the feeling of things being fluid. Time is also handled in the same manner. Some events are detailed and very vivid while the rest of time is blended and merged to feel like endless days simply passing like the ones before. I also appreciate the lack of cookie cutter ending. I feel one of the greatest disservices YA Lit does is tie up all lose ends or have no ending at all. This ending is appropriate and fits the story.
Rosoff also has a sweet looking website which is always awesome. http://www.megrosoff.co.uk/
Since I’m increasingly using this blog to write reviews I think I should have a rating system right? So this book gets an Awesome(4 stars) out of a Cool (3 stars) a Whatevs (2 stars) or a Lame (1 star). If something is bad enough to rate no stars then I won’t waste my time posting about it. Unless I have some vendetta or grudge against it and I feel like it is ruining Lit as we know it. I also call this the “want to scratch my eyeballs out” effect.