Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Do You Mean You Never Read How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff?

The Librarian M stops by to tell us about one of her favorites that is headed to the big screen this year:

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

At the behest of her evil stepmother, Daisy has been sent from New York to England to spend time with some British relatives she has never met. She finds her cousins (Osbert, Isaac, Edmond, and Piper) totally charming (well, maybe not Osbert, who is the oldest and a little bossy) and she establishes an especially close bond with Edmond. While she living idyllically in the English countryside her aunt is called away to Norway to participate in peace talks to try to avert an impending war. War comes anyway and the kids find themselves isolated and alone.

At first the war seems great. Daisy and the others spend all their time lazing about, enjoying each other’s company, and reveling in their freedom. This all comes to an end when the military shows up to commandeer their house and the family is split up to be put into foster homes. Daisy is separated from Edmond and the bliss of the summer is suddenly over.

Now that she has been ripped from the family farm, Daisy finds out how terrible it is to live through a war. There isn’t enough food, information is scarce, and everyone has to work extremely hard to make ends meet. Will all the suffering be worth it in the end?

Daisy’s voice is very well-crafted. She has real knack for description:
 “Without making a big deal of it or punching me on the shoulder and saying You’re OK Cousin Daisy like they do on TV, Piper and Edmond and Isaac and I started doing pretty much everything together, though sometimes I forgot to count Isaac because he could go days without saying a single word. I knew Aunt Penn wasn’t worried about him because I heard her say to someone that he’d speak when he was ready to speak, but all I could think was in New York that kid would have been stuck in a straitjacket practically from birth and dangled over a tank full of Educational Consultants and Remedial Experts all snapping at his ankles for the next twenty years arguing about his Special Needs and getting paid plenty for it.”
How I Live Now is a fantastic and heartrending story about being displaced by war. Read it!

Oh, and it totally won the Printz Award in 2005 so plenty of other people think it’s excellent too.

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