This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

worldI feel like someone just punched me in the heart.  This is the third and final book Pfeffer has written about a world where the moon is knocked closer to the Earth, wreaking havoc. The first book, Life As We Knew It, remains one of my favorite post-apocalyptic books. I just think it’s stellar. And when combined with her second book, The Dead and The Gone, which takes place same time and circumstances, but different characters, well it’s just great.  And now there is a third book in which the characters of the first and second come together. It was wonderfully written, but holy cow depressing. I could handle a pandemic or societal breakdown, but events like this just seem hopeless.  I felt the same way about Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  It’s a testament to their writing skills and our belief in human nature to hope even during the depths of despair that there is any hope or goodwill at all during the book.  I’m feeling horribly depressed just from reading it! Because unlike societal breakdown or pandemics where you could create a new society, the event in this book has basically made the Earth uninhabitable and it’s not going to get better. How could it? Nothing will grow. So basically humankind is like the dinosaurs dying out. Except people continue to try to hope, survive, keep family together, fall in love, and carry on.

I thought this was a really worthy conclusion, although I found myself really disliking Alex-who was the main character of The Dead and Gone.  I don’t recall disliking him when I read that book, so I don’t know if I just don’t remember or a different point of view (Miranda’s) reveals him to be inflexible and controlling.  There is also talk in this book of hidden “safe cities.” I don’t remember them being mentioned in the previous books and would like to know more about them.  They claim they have electricity, hospitals, schools, and so on. How can that be?

Honestly, it seems like the luckiest people in that world were the ones who believed that life after death would be peaceful and happy, free of hunger and fear.  Horribly sad, but a good conclusion, and honestly I think a realistic one in the circumstances the author has created. Let’s all hope that the moon stays exactly where it should!!

p.s. If you visit often you probably know that I really like post apocalyptic books (even though they make me so sad!).  Check out a post I did recently on The Hub called All I Needed to Know About Surviving Post Hurricane Sandy I Learned from Post Apocalyptic Novels. I’ll add this one to improving my arsenal of knowledge. Pro Tip: if possible stock up on cases of power bars. They would come in handy.

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