How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Title:  How I Live Now
Author:  Meg Rosoff
Release date:  April 11, 2006
Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books
Pages:  194
Genre:  Young adult fiction
Source:  Library

How I Live Now starts out in modern-day New York City, with fifteen-year-old Daisy being told by her father that she must go live with her cousins in England, as she is having trouble getting along with her stepmother.  Daisy arrives at the airport in London, and is picked up by her cousin Edmund, then taken back to the farmhouse in the country where she is greeted by her Aunt Penn and Edmund’s three siblings.  The six of them enjoy life in the country for several months, and Daisy is incredibly happy there – she even falls in love with Edmund and the two of them begin a secret, passionate relationship.  But when war breaks out, and the enemy occupies England, the family is split up.  Aunt Penn is away in another country, the three boys go to an unnamed place to work, and Daisy and her youngest cousin Piper travel to another farm to help out with the soldiers there.

This is an extremely beautifully written, thought-provoking novel that I have to admit I have mixed feelings about.  Generally speaking, I really liked it, but there was one thing that bothered me a LOT:  the relationship between Daisy and Edmund.  Perhaps it made me so uncomfortable because Rosoff wrote it so well that it felt very real to me, but at the risk of sounding immature, it grossed me out.  So that definitely tarnished the book for me, I just couldn’t “get” that aspect of the novel.  I also didn’t understand why Daisy’s father would send her halfway across the world just because his wife didn’t like her.  That aspect of the novel made me so sad.

That being said, there are many other aspects of the book I did like.  Daisy’s voice was completely authentic and very real for a teenager faced with living through a world war.  I listened to this book on audio, and the narrator did a great job channeling that teen voice in her speech patterns and tone of voice.  Daisy started out so immature, so young-sounding, and as the book progressed, as she had to deal with harder and harder times, she grew up quite a bit, and Rosoff really reflected that through Daisy’s first person narration.

The war was a huge part of the book, and it was written in a believable, completely terrifying way.  I definitely thought about what my life would be like if World War III broke out on American soil, what would possibly happen, where I would go if we were to be occupied, etc. There were some scary thoughts running through my mind as I read about Daisy and Piper surviving horrific conditions.

This novel has been touted as a young adult/adult fiction crossover, and I would agree with that assessment.  How I Live Now is a stunning read for all ages.  While I didn’t love every single thing about the book, overall it made me think and will stay with me for a long time.  And the writing is beautiful – I will definitely read more from Meg Rosoff in the near future.

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16 thoughts on “How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

  1. I really like this book! The relationship between Daisy and Edmund didn’t bother me, really. I know it’s not common now, but lots of people have been attracted to cousins before. Plus, Daisy never KNEW Edmund growing up, so it wasn’t like she thought of him as a brother or anything- he was a stranger to her. So to me, I was able to come to terms with that.

    I don’t even really remember the book now- but I know I enjoyed it 🙂

    1. I know Edmund and Daisy didn’t know each other growing up, but still… that’s your COUSIN. I just didn’t get it. I guess if they were the last two people on earth it would kind of make sense, and they almost were, but still… I really just couldn’t get over it. Oh well! Still an excellent book.

  2. I’m so glad you liked it, Heather! I finished Just in Case today so I’m in full-on Meg Rosoff fsngirl mode. I think she’s seriously, seriously brilliant and I kind of want to fill your comments box with “<3"'s 😛

    1. Aww, you can totally do that, I wouldn’t mind a bit! But yes, I need to read more of her stuff. I wouldn’t say she’s my *fave* author but I definitely appreciated what is so great about her while reading this book. I WILL read another of her books, and soon!

    1. That goat scene traumatized me too, big time. I cried real tears, and keep in mind I read this in audio… so I was driving to work, crying my eyes out over a goat! My goodness. But I’m sorry that it didn’t work for you. 😦

  3. I really enjoyed this book when I read it last month. The only thing that bugged me also was the relationship between cousins, but it definitely didn’t bug me enough to put me off the rest of the book. I have now read two more books by Meg Rosoff and I think she’s a fantastic author.

  4. I enjoyed reading your take on this one. I liked it enough to bring this home with me (taking if off my middle school shelves) during the summer to read on my break!!

  5. I was of two minds about the cousins romance thing. It squiffed me out more that they were young, than that they were first cousins. (I had the first-cousins stigma scourged out of me by watching Guiding Light growing up.) Because they were really young! I tried not to think too much about it, though, because other than that I liked the book a lot.

  6. I read this book a year ago and I remember that I really enjoyed it, but that it left me with a confused feeling afterwards. But really, I can’t seem to remember why. It makes me want to reread the book right now.

  7. Wow this book has to be my #1! I love this book, the relationship of Edmond and Daisy kept me reading untill i was done and i must say reading that book getting to the end i couldn’t help but start crying and even when i was done i felt so close to Piper,Edmond,Isaac ,Osbert and even Aunt Penn!

  8. zomg i love this book to bits! after reading this i wanted to read boks like this but there wernt any >< the cousin relationshiop was cute and sweet but awkard at the same time =D i realy enjoyed it i read it 23 times =D i also made my class and my principle read it!
    its a amazing breahtaking adventure!
    i wish i was daisy at tyms 😉

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