Life as We Knew It

A Novel
Narrated by: Emily Bauer
Series: Last Survivors, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (942 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the Moon closer to the Earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun?

As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all, hope, in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

©2006 Susan Beth Pfeffer (P)2006 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A very G-rated apocalyptic tale

Hunger Games this is not. It is far more family-friendly is every way. That was my reason for picking this book - and if you have kids ages 9-14 and a long road trip, this may be a good pick for your family too - sure to lead to some interesting conversations.

But for the adults in the car BEWARE. The teen narrator will grate on your last nerve. For a good portion of the book I blamed the narrator - Emily Bauer - for the childish, whiny protagonist. But a bit more than halfway though, I realized that it was not how the words were read that was the problem - its the words themselves. The protagonist is supposedly 16 years old, but she sounds very much like she is 12. Her focus throughout the story (until the last 2 hours) is so vapid, whiny and self-obsessed that I had a hard time cheering for her survival. Oh how much better it could have been if the author had decided to give our young heroine some maturity, spunk, and/or intelligence from the get-go.

As far as end of the world survival - the family relies on a coincidence of good fortune that removes them from the true life or death struggle that the story attempts to portray. Apparently in this part of Pennsylvania looters and bandits do not exist, so the breakdown of civilization is downright Norman-Rockwellian. That being said, the author does an good job building on the tension of isolation and the claustrophobia that would grow as communication with the outside world is severed.

All in all - a very G-rated apocalyptic tale.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good book

This is a good book, well written with characters that are very believable that you can sympathize with. Not Ann Frank, but not grossly far off. Others have written that politics and religion should have been left out of the book, but I think that these references certainly belong. One of the characters is expressing her opinion...isn't that normal? Don't people do that all of the time? As for the religious references...isn't that believable too? One of the characters uses the shade of religion to fleece the sheep of his congregation. What is the difference between that and television evangelist and others who continue to live the high life on the contributions of their congregations, contributions that they continue to elicit even now as the economy crumbles?

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Almost gave up

I almost gave up on this story that I bought for a family car ride. The beginning was terrible, but in the end, it was a pretty good book. Especially for my spoiled rotten preteen who lives for food and has never missed a meal.

The jabs at incompetent leaders and corrupt church officials are brief and I didn't feel like she was pushing politics.

9 people found this helpful

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Makes You Wonder...

I have to agree that the beginning of this recording is hard to sit through. The narrator is whiny and annoying. I think she is trying to make the character sound like your average "not a real care in the world before the disaster" teenager, but it grated on my nerves. Once the story gets going, the narration is much better. I liked that the author took her time showing us what a typical family might endure if something like this were ever to happen.

I didn't mind the references to the president. I myself have mumbled gripes during certain presidential addresses. However, I do wish the mother had expressed herself a bit more than just saying "jerk" or "idiot". Without more explanation, the anger seemed displaced.

I didn't mind the religious references at all. I don't think the author was making a judgement call on ALL Christians...just those her character came in contact with.

Overall, I was pretty invested in the story. I found myself caring for the characters...all of whom are a little flawed...which I loved.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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he said, she said, I said

I wanted to read this because my 13 old was reading it. The girls were passing it around school bc they all enjoyed it. I went crazy listening to that voice, who talks like that? If I heard another, I said, when she really asked, I was going to throw this recording out the window. I think you've got to be 13 to enjoy this, maybe it's better in book form.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping story

This is a gripping story of a family struggling to stay together as everything around them - the entire world - is being torn apart around them.

4 people found this helpful

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Alas Babylon for the modern young reader

The memoir of a 16 year going as she witnesses environmental calamity, hunger, and a pandemic flu, all the while experiencing normal teenage angst. I enjoyed the accessible vocabulary and would recommend it for those that enjoy YA fiction.

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One of my all time favorites!!!

I usually don’t write reviews at all but this series really deserves it!! This has become an all time favorite series that I come back to at LEAST once a year! As a huuuge lover or apocalyptic books, I love how realistic and mundane (in the best possible way) this series is. This series really makes me feel connected to the characters and I have since I started reading it when I was in Jr. High and am now 23. This is one of those life changing books for some of us, it got me through hard times and taught me the true love I have for the Apocalyptic genre, thank you Susan for this incredible series!

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Vocal Fail

I'm actually on the 3rd book in this series, but I came back to express how young the narrator's voice sounds. Although I do realize the character of Miranda is a teenager, the narrator sounds like she's about 6. My 11-year old daughter heard a clip and said, "Isn't this the same person who did audio for the Junie P. Jones books?" While she (narrator Emily Bauer) makes a valiant effort, the narrator is much too expressive, to the point where Miranda sounds far too gushy in some parts, and incredibly pouty in others.

That all being said, the story is captivating! If you can make it to through this audio, the second in the series is narrated by a male with a far superior delivery. Unfortunately, book 3 goes back to Emily Bauer, which is why I'm here. If one thing can be said for certain, the story is so great it makes me overlook a narrator who is a bit like nails on a chalkboard.

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Christian Bashing

I listened to about five hours, hoping it would get better. Finally, I couldn’t take anymore of the Christian bashing.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • caroline davey
  • 11-06-07

Thought provoking and not a littte scary

This book is absorbing and very thought provoking. I am listening avidly but will not let my ten year old hear it yet. I think young adult is definitely the category here. The book is well written and the narration is excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 12-23-17

I enjoyed listening to this story!

Being a 62 year old women this story was good to listen to.. makes you think how lucky we are to have the moon in perfect alignment with the earth and sun.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cliff
  • 09-18-16

Surprisingly good.

A real thought provoking story, well read and just the right length of time. Liked it a lot.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • G
  • 08-19-16

refreshing I think my 16 year old daughter like

she will not find it too depressing lots of love.
words to make the count up as I am on a bike.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TheBoys
  • 04-05-14

A must read for everyone

If you could sum up Life as We Knew It in three words, what would they be?

Could it happen?

Any additional comments?

This is a fantastic series of books, but I actually preferred to read these rather than listen to them.