'How I Live Now' by Meg Rosoff
"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’ by Meg Rosoff is a dystopian novel set in the near future that follows the journey of a group of children through a world war three scenario.
Daisy is a fifteen-year-old American girl from a broken home. Her mother died when she was young and she doesn’t get on very well with her father and step-mother. With a new baby on the way, Daisy’s father sends her off to live with her aunt and cousins in England, where he believes she will be safer from the impending war.
Upon arriving in England, Daisy is surprised to find that her cousin Edmond, who is only fourteen, will be driving her back to their farm and that he smokes cigarettes. It turns out that her Aunt Penn is constantly engrossed in her work and barely leaves her study. Arriving back at what will be her new home, Daisy is introduced to the rest of her cousins; Isaac, Edmond’s twin brother, Osbert, the eldest at sixteen-years-old, and Piper, the youngest and only girl who is nine. Daisy finds it difficult to fit in at first, especially with her eating disorder. Life on the farm is so different from New York, quieter, slower-paced, and as Aunt Penn isn’t around much she has to grow up fast.
Shortly after Daisy arrives, Aunt Penn has to go to Oslo, Norway for a few days for work. But while she is gone the dreaded war finally breaks out and all air travel into the UK is stopped, meaning that she can’t get home and the children will have to manage on their own. They start off by moving to the old lambing barn, and spend their days fishing, swimming and growing food. During this time Daisy becomes much closer to her cousins, particularly Edmond. But before long they are found living alone, and are split up; the boys sent to one place, and Piper and Daisy to another. ‘How I Live Now’ is the heart-wrenching tale of how Daisy and Piper survive the war-ridden country, trying to make it back to the farm and the boys.
I saw the film adaptation of this book a few years back and I really enjoyed it. I loved the storyline, characters and whole aspect of the world it was set in. I recently found a copy of the book and fell in love with the story all over again. There are some major differences between the book and the film, but the general story is the same and both are fantastic!
I adore Daisy as a character. She is quite withdrawn and finds it difficult to trust, which makes it all the more heart-breaking when she falls so in love with her cousins, then has them torn away from her. Piper is also an amazing character. She’s just so unbelievably cute!
I love the story and the journey that these characters went on. The world war three scenario is so scarily realistic that it’s not difficult to imagine yourself in Daisy’s shoes. I think the thing that makes it so real is that this could happen at any time. But I found it wonderful that the story centered so tightly around this group of children and that we saw it entirely through Daisy’s eyes. The only information the reader gets comes from her, which is most apparent when they refer to the Enemy. They don’t know who it is or what the war is even really about and the reader is just as in the dark as the characters, but this works so well with the idea and writing style, and is just perfect.
Meg Rosoff’s style of writing is so unique. I really like how it is written almost like Daisy’s diary, and how it is prose all the way through. In fact, until part two near the end I don’t think there is a single speech mark, which is unusual but it works incredibly well. The language is so conversational and very easy to read.
I’ll definitely be reading more of Meg’s books in the future!
I would give this book 5 stars :)
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