Thursday, August 8, 2013

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Daisy is being sent to live with her cousins in the English countryside because her step-monster doesn't want her around and her father is in "love".  She has never met this aunt or her cousins in her entire life because she lives in the United States and she can't believe she is being sent away.

Daisy is isolated on the farm with her cousins, there are 4 of them, when a World War begins.  England becomes occupied by an unnamed enemy.  Her aunt is stuck in Oslo, Norway when the transportation system is shut down.  The phone works sporadically, the food is being rationed, no one knows who the enemy is or what information to believe and Daisy is falling in love.  It all seems a bit surreal and magical to Daisy.  No rules, no adults, no school.

There are five young adults, alone on a farm in England, in the middle of a war. Yet the war seems far away affecting only "other" people.  Until the war separates them.  How I Live Now is about the threat of terrorism and a war in which we are not sure who the enemy is.  It is a story of love, betrayal and survival.  Ultimately, How I Live Now is a war story for our generation.

Rosoff is an excellent writer and I enjoyed her narration immensely.  Daisy is a great narrator/character and each of her cousins are great characters as well.  I loved the idyllic nature of the farm juxtaposed against the backdrop of a world at war with itself.  I thought Rosoff does an excellent job of communicating the harsh realities of what war is really like to her readers.  Rosoff includes fear, starvation, death, cruelty, love, hate and kindness in How I Live Now which is quite the discussible little book.  How I Live Now relates to how We live now.

The Printz award is one of my favorite book awards.  I know that I will have to think and question what I know when I read a Printz award winner.  I love powerful books that change how you see the world.  How I Live Now won the Printz award in 2005 and it is very deserving of the prize.  I looked at war through Daisy's eyes and saw it through a different lense and it was powerful.

How I Live Now is a new film set to be released in England in October, 2013.  Not sure when it will be released in the States.