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 must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way."
I tried to start this book years ago, but I just wasn't into it and I think I had to return it to the library any way. But now they've either made a movie based on this book or are currently working on it, so I felt that I should give it another shot. Armed with an audio book copy, I discovered just what I had missed the first time I tried to read this book.
I didn't realize that this is a wartime (I hesitate to say apocalyptic) book. It takes place during the onset of World War III, as Daisy heads over to England to live with her cousins for a while. Her aunt is often gone, so she and her cousins are left to fend for themselves. But this isn't unusual for them by now. They kind of like it because they're home-schooled and therefore can handle their education the way they'd want it handled. A lot of the time, that means reading everything in sight.
Once the bombs start going off though, things start to pick up pace. Food and supplies become rationed, people aren't allowed to go anywhere, really. Especially not out of the country. Information is hard to come by-- did a bombing really happen or not? How many people are dead or injured? What exactly started this whole thing in the first place?
Daisy's story is engrossing. I'm writing this post and I almost forgot that this is Daisy's story. It's not just about war.
The interesting thing is, even though this story takes place during the war, it's very much in the background of the story. This story is about the hardships that Daisy experiences and the growth she goes through. She begins her story referring to the fact that she has anorexia. Towards the end of the story when she and everyone else are starving and she's starting to rebuild what's left of her cousins' home and garden, she experiences the relief of having a full belly during this time.
One thing that kind of bothered me that wasn't talked about too much was the fact that Daisy is romantically attracted to her cousin. I mean, I guess it happens sometimes where one feels that their first cousin is the one for them. But I can't imagine those relationships are easy. They must come up against some kind of opposition where their family or friends turn to them and say, "Really? Out of EVERYONE ELSE in the ENTIRE world?" But Daisy had minimal opposition of her attraction to her second oldest (I think) first cousin. I don't know if no one really addressed this matter given what was going on in the world or if they didn't talk about it for another reason altogether. I guess I'm just bothered that this part was included and it was just thrown on the table with no statement or label or anything. So I don't really know what to do about this part of the book.
Overall, I'm not sure why I couldn't get through this book the first time I tried, but I'm glad I got through it now. It was a really great read.
I give 'How I Live Now':