How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Meg Rosoff’s “How I Live Now” tells the story of a teenage girl called Daisy, who is sent away by her broken New York family to live with unknown cousins in the British countryside. The story begins lighthearted and adventurous, as the children enjoy an idyllic farm life void of adult restrictions, and Daisy and her cousin Edmund embark on a quiet, controversial exploration of each other. The story takes a dark turn, however, as Daisy and her cousins find themselves stranded on the farm as World War 3 unfolds around them.
The story straddles the line between whimsical and almost unimaginably dark. Ultimately, “How I Live Now” is the coming-of-age tale of a damaged child in a shattered world. Daisy struggles to care for her younger cousin, finding a caring and protective side of herself that she had not known existed. She learns that a broken girl from a broken home can obtain devotion and love as she seeks to be reunited with the real family she never imagined she would have.
Though “How I Live Now” is marketed at young teens, the sexual and violent themes of the book in fact make it an interesting and relevant read for older audiences as well. The gruesome imagery and the extreme sexual taboo make the book morally challenging and engrossing, forcing the reader to consider their standards for normalcy in a broken society. “How I Live Now” is impressively well-written despite its intended young audience, featuring beloved characters and an engaging story. A movie adaptation of the novel is currently in development.