How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Read by Kim Mai Guest
Length: 4 Hrs 13 Min
Genre: Young Adult Post Apocalyptic
Quick Thoughts: While not my typical choice of listens I found How I Live Now to have characters just engaging enough to care about, and the situation just plausible enough to fear. Along with the solid work of the narrator, this was a fun, quick listen that should appeal to fans of Young Adult Apocalyptic novels.
Every once in a while, I will finish up an audiobook earlier than I plan, and my next planned audiobook isn’t on my MP3 player, or is being released the next day, and I don’t really want to start some long, involved audiobook. When this situation comes up, I try to have small, 4-6 hour long audiobooks on my MP3 player to serve as place fillers. Often these will be something I usually don’t listen too. I recently found myself in such a situation, and going through my various options, I decided to check out a short novel I discovered while reading Presenting Lenore’s Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Book List. Now, it’s a given fact that I am a huge fan of Adult Post Apocalyptic novels. Rarely, but on occasion, I do check out a Young Adult Post Apocalyptic novel or series, especially when I get a recommendation, or I can’t escape the hype surrounding it. This time, I chose Meg Rosoff’s Young Adult Post Apocalyptic novel, called How I Live Now. How I Live Now is the story of a fifteen year old girl named Daisy, who is sent off by her father and "evil" stepmother to live in England with her cousins in their isolated rural home. While in England, a global war sets off, causing England to be occupied by an unnamed enemy force.
I have to say I enjoyed this quick read. Yes, it was not my typical style, full of awkward teen romance, of the forbidden kind, and all sorts of teen issues like dealing with family changes, and eating disorders. Yet, Rosoff didn’t take the afterschool special approach to these issues, just presented them from Daisy’s perspective, with no judgments, or unnecessary elaborations. Rosoff moves us into the crisis pretty quickly, allowing us to see how easily a modern country can be thrown out of whack. One of the interesting twists of the novel is how Daisy and her cousins are left without adult supervision, and seem to do fine dealing with the problems of the war, until well meaning adults (and not so well meaning government agencies) begin to meddle. I found the whole approach to the tale well done, and enjoyable on a surface level. Much of the novel is just a chronicle of survival, yet the emotional subtexts are always simmering under the surface. Rosoff also doesn’t fail to show the brutality of war and its impact on those involved. All in all, this novel may not appeal to those looking for a huge, brutal, multi-perspective End of the World novel. Yet, I found the characters just engaging enough to care about, and the situation just plausible enough to fear.
Kim Mai Guest narrated this tale, and was a good fit for the characters. Guest did an excellent job of portraying Daisy, with all her flaws. The essence of this story is the transformation of Daisy from a girl with teenage problems, and teenage perspectives, to a women handling adult issues, and making adult choices. Guest captured this transformation well. She did a decent job with the other characters as well, performing the British accents well, and properly presenting characters of all ages and genders. I found How I Live Now to be an interesting addition to the Post Apocalyptic sub genre that should appeal to young adult fans, as well as to adults looking for a more intimate end of the world tale.