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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

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Other titles in the Life as We Knew It series:

Life as We Knew It

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Life as We Knew It Cover

ISBN13: 9780152061548
ISBN10: 0152061541
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

one

May 7

   Lisa is pregnant.

   Dad called around 11 oclock to let us know. Only Mom had already taken Jonny to his baseball practice and of course Matt isnt home from college yet, so I was alone to get the big news.

   “The baby is due in December,” Dad crowed, like he was the first guy in the history of the world with a younger second wife about to have a baby. “Isnt that great! Youre going to have a little brother or sister. Of course its too soon to tell what its going to be, but as soon as we know, well tell you. I wouldnt mind another daughter myself. The first one I had turned out so wonderfully. Howd you like a baby sister?”

   I had no idea. “When did you find out?” I asked.

   “Yesterday afternoon,” Dad said. “I would have called you right away but, well, we celebrated. You can understand that, cant you, honey? A little private time for Lisa and me before letting the world know.”

   “Of course, Daddy,” I said. “Has Lisa told her family?”

   “First thing this morning,” he replied. “Her parents are thrilled. Their first grandchild. Theyre coming for a couple of weeks in July, before you and Jonny visit.”

   “Are you going to call Matt and tell him?” I asked. “Or do you want me to?”

   “Oh no, Ill call,” Dad said. “Hes busy studying for his finals. Hell be glad for the interruption.”

   “Its great news, Dad,” I said, because I knew I was supposed to. “Be sure to tell Lisa how happy I am for her. And you, too. For both of you.”

   “You tell her yourself,” Dad said. “Here she is.”

   Dad muffled the phone for a second so he could whisper something to Lisa and then she took the phone. “Miranda,” she said. “Isnt it exciting!”

   “Very,” I said. “Its wonderful news. Im really happy for you and Dad.”

   “I was thinking,” she said. “Well, I know its way too soon and I havent even discussed this with your father yet, but would you like to be the babys godmother? You dont have to answer right away, but do think about it, all right?”

   Thats the problem I have with Lisa. Whenever I want to get mad at her, or just irritated because she really can be immensely irritating, she goes and does something nice. And then I can understand why Daddy married her.

   “Of course Ill think about it,” I said. “You and Daddy think about it also.”

   “We dont have to give it any more thought,” she said. “You should see the glow on your fathers face. I dont think he could be any happier.”

   “I couldnt,” Dad said, and I could tell from his laughter that hed grabbed the phone away from Lisa. “Miranda, please say yes. It would mean so much to us for you to be the babys godmother.”

   So I said yes. I couldnt exactly say no.

   After that we chatted for a while. I told Dad about my last swim meet and how I was doing in school. Mom still hadnt come back by the time I finally got off the phone, so I went online to see whats new with figure skating. The hot topic at Brandon Erlichs fan site is how good his chances are to win Olympic gold. Most people think not very, but a lot of us think he has a real shot at medaling and ice is slippery and you never know.

   I think Id like to take skating lessons again. Ive missed it the past couple of years and besides, itll give me a chance to pick up news about Brandon. He isnt being coached by Mrs. Daley anymore, but I bet she still hears stuff. And maybe Brandons mother would show up at the rink.

   When Mom got in, I had to tell her about Lisa. She just said that was nice and that she knew the two of them wanted children. She and Dad have worked really hard on making it a “good divorce.” Matt says if theyd worked half as hard on their marriage, theyd still be married. I didnt tell her about how Im going to be the godmother (assuming Lisa doesnt change her mind, which shes more than capable of doing). I feel kind of bad that Im going to be the godmother but no one said anything about Matt or Jonny being godfathers. Of course Lisa and Matt dont get along very well, and maybe 13 is too young to be a godfather.

   I hope Lisa changes her mind and I wont have to deal with it. May 8

   Not the greatest Mothers Day ever.

   Id told Mom a while ago that Id make dinner and she decided to invite Mrs. Nesbitt. I cant say I was surprised, but I figured if Mom was having Mrs. Nesbitt over I could ask Megan and her mom, too. Only when Jonny found out it was going to be me and Mom and Mrs. Nesbitt and Megan and Mrs. Wayne, he said that was too many females in one room for him and he was going to have dinner at Tims instead.

   Mom always thinks its a good idea for Jonny to spend time with Tim and his family because there are three boys and Tims father is around a lot. She said if it was okay with Tims folks it was okay with her.

   I called Megan and told her to bring her history notes with her and wed study for the test together, and she agreed.

   Which is why Im so mad at her. If she hadnt said yes, it would be one thing. But she did and I made enough meatloaf for five and salad and then right before I started setting the table, Megan called and said she had decided to stay on at her church and do something with the youth group. Shed gotten the dates mixed up. And her mother didnt feel like coming without her, so it was going to be two less for Sunday dinner and she hoped I didnt mind.

   Well, I do mind. I mind because Id been looking forward to all of us having dinner together and to studying with Megan. I also figured Mrs. Nesbitt and Mrs. Wayne would be good people for Mom to talk to about Lisas baby. Mom may not be best friends with Mrs. Wayne, but shes funny and she would have gotten Mom laughing.

   Megan is spending so much time at her church. She goes to services every Sunday and she never used to and she does stuff with the youth group at least twice a week and sometimes more and for all her talking about how shes found God, I think all shes found is Reverend Marshall. She talks about him like hes a movie star. I even told her that once and she said thats how I talk about Brandon, like it was the same thing, which it isnt at all. Lots of people think Brandon is the best skater in the U.S. right now and besides it isnt like I talk about him all the time and act like hes my salvation.

   Dinner was okay except I overcooked the meatloaf so it was a little dry. But Mrs. Nesbitts never been shy with the ketchup bottle. After a while I left her and Mom alone and I guess they talked about Lisa and the baby. I wish it was summer already. I cant wait to get my drivers license.

   I also wish I was through studying for my history exam. BORING!

   But Id better get back to it. Bad grades, no license. The Rules According to Mom.

Copyright © 2006 by Susan Beth Pfeffer

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

G0993, January 22, 2013 (view all comments by G0993)
This book was well written and very horrifying. Almost every time I marked my place and put it down (and even some times in the middle of a sentence) I never wanted to keep reading it. You get sucked in and lost in the feeling of reading a very good book, but at the same time it caused you to disappear SO much that you actually could picture it as reality. Seemed like an actual accounting of a real event that could possibly happen. Or even happen from another natural event. No monsters, aliens, Zombies, Islamic extremists, or Mayan calendars were needed to make it truly horrifying and visceral. I kept trying to think of a way back to normal for the characters, but the event that happened was just too solid and irreparable.
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(0 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
ChibiDollxx, April 4, 2012 (view all comments by ChibiDollxx)
This book is amazing! It makes you wonder if such a large catastrophe as the moon being knocked dramatically close to the Earth and causing life threatening- even civilization threatening- events, like tsunamis' and eruptions. You won't be able to put it down, and you will be tempted to grab a notepad and pen to take notes from the extremely smart mother in this novel, who knows exactly what her family needs in this situation. Susan Pffeffer did an amazing job making it seem as though you are living Miranda's life, that you will be amazed and excited when you see your television works and jump when the heater is turned on. 'Life as We Knew It' is an amazing end-of-days book, and will make you thankful for being well-fed and that the moon is in it's place!
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bodelll, December 4, 2011 (view all comments by bodelll)
This book is excellent, and I loved it! I could feel the sorrow and despair the people went through. Susan Beth Pfeffer is a descriptive, creative author that left not one chapter without throwing in an unexpected turn, that was extremely well thought out and added to the story very well. One of the many things I loved about the book is that I loved how Mirandah didn't talk like she was an adult, she actually sounded like she was a high school student. Also, the situation between Dan and Mirandah broke my heart. I could not believe that so many terrible things could happen to one person when they were not even out of high school yet. Since I am in high school, it was very relatable. I couldn’t believe the affection Mirandah had for her father, step-mother, and “Rachel” that she would spend her last part of her life trying to find out what happened to them. That was real love. Mirandah all throughout the book said she didn’t believe in God. In the end I feel like she realized that her and family’s wellness and the miraculous miracle at the end was not luck or even fate, but God blessing her and all her hard work and sacrifices she gave to save not only herself but her family, too. This wasn’t the only lesson learned either; there are many others that Mirandah was taught. After reading, I was inspired to keep a journal and stock up in a lot of food storage! This disaster makes you really stop and think if you are actually prepared if something like this were to happen. I couldn’t help but flip the pages striving to know what was going to happen; I could not put it down. Some problems that someone might have with the book is that there is a lot of dying and hardships, but without them, there book would not be exciting or interesting. I can't wait to read the second and third book and I have heard many great comments about them.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780152061548
Author:
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
Publisher:
Harcourt Brace and Company
Author:
Lorentz, Dayna
Author:
Schumacher, Anna
Subject:
Situations / New Experience
Subject:
Social Issues - New Experience
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Social Issues - Emotions & Feelings
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Situations / Emotions & Feelings
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
End Times
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
7 x 5 in 0.6 lb
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects


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Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Emotions and Feelings
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » New Experience
Young Adult » General

Life as We Knew It Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 360 pages Graphia - English 9780152061548 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Absorbing from first page to last." (starred review)
"Review" by , "Riveting and deeply frightening."
"Review" by , "You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails."
"Synopsis" by , When a meteor hits the moon, Miranda must learn to survive the unimaginable . . .
"Synopsis" by ,
Seven signs warned them. Now its time for Carbon County to fight back.

 

In End Times, Daphne lost herself in love with Owen, only to discover the dark secret that puts Carbon County at ground zero for the end of days. . . . 

 

All thirteen of the Children of Earth have arrived and taken root in town. Together at last, they can perform the series of rituals necessary to awaken their father, a wrathful entity known as the God of the Earth.

 

Daphne protects their identities from Pastor Ted and the God-fearing locals out of love and allegiance to Owen. But when people start disappearing from town and Daphne begins receiving visions from God, her allegiance—and even her love—is brought into question in this astonishing companion novel to End Times.

"Synopsis" by ,
Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours

A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it's even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there's no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.

These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising manners, changing in ways they wouldn't have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.

This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances.

And not always for the better.

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