Book: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
About the Book: Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.
As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.
How I Live Now seems to be a book that divides people, they either love it or they are a bit “meh” about it.
I’m one of the “meh” ones.
I just had a lot of trouble connecting with this book.
Aesthetically, I didn’t like the cover of the book (the one pictured above) which is why it sat on my TBR shelf for about two years before I finally picked it up. I know, you shouldn’t judge a book, blah, blah, but I did.
I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. Rossoff wrote the entire thing as Daisy recalling the plot in her mind, so there was no quotation marks or anything like that. And while I do think the author wrote this very well, she did sound very much like a fifteen year old girl, I just did not like the style. I really, really wanted some quotation marks to appear when a character was speaking.
They never did.
In terms of the plot, I really liked the concept; fifteen year old girl with an eating disorder travels to England, meets long lost family, has an incesteous relationship with a cousin, war breaks out, they all get separated, typical YA really, but the entire thing felt a bit bare to me.
Even though so much happened, the relationship, the outbreak, the separation, trying to find each other again, I felt like Rosoff skimmed through most of it. Daisy’s eating disorder was touched on but never fully, the relationship with Edmond and Daisy, we knew it was happening but it Rosoff never went into detail and it to me it felt like a bit of a cop out. For the entire plot there were no real “milestones”, things just happened and I think the book suffered for that.
The ending too felt very abrupt. Daisy, Piper and Isaac reunite at their old farm house, the phone rings for the first time in months and Daisy is swept back to America, ten years pass and she comes back, cue the possibility of a happy ending with a now emotionally and physically scarred Edmond.
As far the relationship with Daisy and Edmond; underage incest. I didn’t mind it. It happened and I just went, “Oh Okay,” but I found it very odd that every other character in the book accepts it without question. Not a single other character goes, “Hmm, guys maybe stop, wait for someone you don’t share blood with.” But, just like the quotation marks, that also does not happen.
Overall, I was disappointed by this book. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, certain aspects of the book were just unbelievable, there were a lot of loose ends. I think it had the potential to be incredible if only it was a bit longer. The book is very short, not even two hundred pages, and I definitely think the book could have benefited from maybe another fifty to a hundred pages.