Friday, December 13, 2013

Review Me Twice: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

There are a number of MINOR spoilers in my review. Fair warning.

Daisy is from America, and wasn't getting along so well with her dad & stepmom, so she's sent to England to live with her cousins and aunt. Meanwhile, the world is on the brink of World War III. The inevitable happens (by which I mean two things: the bombs are dropped and she sleeps with one of her cousins).

There's a weird little touch of the supernatural that could be seen as a deus ex machina (except it's present throughout the book so it's not the kind that just shows up to tidy up some loose ends) and I didn't like it the first time I read this book (in college, for adolescent lit) but I like it more now.

My favorite thing about the whole book is one page, near-ish to the end. I almost don't want to tell you about it because it came as such a surprise to me, and if you're looking for it, then it's not a surprise. So don't read the rest of this paragraph if you (1) like surprises and (2) haven't read it yet. There's a giant black circle on a page, just all of a sudden. It actually made me jump the first time I read it, because the pages were thick enough that I didn't see it through the preceding page, and I wasn't expecting it. My class had a brief discussion of it, and we determined that it was meant to do that. It's jarring, and surprising, and at that point in the story, that's a good thing to do to the reader. It was awesome. (To clear up confusion: This is not a graphic novel. There are no images in this book other than the covers, and this giant circle. Which makes it even more unexpected.)

It's a weird book, I admit that. It's definitely not for everybody. If you can't get past a little thing like your main character sleeping with her cousin, you aren't going to enjoy it. But if you're a go-with-the-flow kind of reader like me, you'll probably love it, because it's a well-told story, and it's not too long for its own good.

I have read this book a number of times, by now.  I would say about three times.  And I still love it.  But, upon reading it this time, I realize that the book isn't for everyone.

This book feels... rushed, I guess is a good word for it, but not in the way you think.  I don't think that Rosoff rushed the book, it just feels like it's all happening fast.  It's done from Daisy's POV and it's very much a stream of consciousness type book.  Run on sentences (paragraphs, really) and Randomly Capitalized Words.  It reads like a teenager's diary (which... it kind of is.)

I love the concept of it.  World War III, and intense bond between these cousins, the horror of how life is sometimes.  And there are a lot of issues that are suggested/addressed (Daisy, for instance, is anorexic, mainly because she wanted to piss off her stepmother.  But anorexia is about control, and Daisy even tells you it's because she discovered it was something she could control.)

I actually watched the movie right before I read the book (again), and after finishing the book, the movie is really a let down.  You don't get the same kind of... power from it that you get from the book.  Also, Daisy is a real jerk in the movie and she's not in the book.  Her cousins kind of hit her in a powerful way.

I really enjoy the book, but like I said before, it's really not for everyone.  And that's ok.  If you're pretty open-minded about, well, everything, I think you'll love this book.

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