How I Live Now by Meg Rossoff definitely isn’t a universally appealing story, but it somehow managed to fascinate me – which not a lot of stories have been capable of as of late. I have read the book and watched the movie and I wanted have finally decided to share my feelings about it with you.
First off, a little summary: Daisy, a fifteen-year-old girl from Manhatten gets sent to England to visit her family there. The only thing is, she never met her aunt and cousins before, because her father didn’t want to talk about anything related to her deceased mother. So, naturally, Daisy feels quite uncomfortable, rejected by her father and now having to live with perfect strangers. It doesn’t take long, until her aunt has to go away for a business trip and leaves the kids by themselves. Now the real storyline begins, because the next day World War III breaks out.
I don’t want to say more than that about the plot, because it will totally spoil the experience, but you are probably wondering why I categorized the book as not universally appealing. Well, one of the problems a lot of the readers complained about is Meg Rossoff‘s style of writing, which is very stream-of-consciousness, and there are no quotation marks around the dialogue parts. This might seem strange to some people, but it isn’t actually something that bothered me very much. Now on to the second point. Very early on in the story, Daisy falls in love with one of her cousins. I mean she’s a teenager and they’ve never met before and it really seems like they are in love, but some people complained that it would encourage incest. Now, I am not into incest stories, but somehow I didn’t mind that part either. I guess, that those are points that could turn people off from reading the book, but I don’t think it should.
From the more problematic parts on to what I really liked about the book. I thought that it was extremely interesting to see how Meg Rossoff would envision a worldwide war in modern-day civilzed countries. Mostly, when I read about war it is either about WWI or WWII or in some sort of dystopian novel, but this one actually took place in the here and now in a country like Great Britain. That’s also what I would like to have read or in case of the movie seen more about. The build-up and the resolution concering the war could have been way longer in my opinion. And I was extremely sad at the ending … I dread endings, so they are never really my thing.
Now, I’ve talked a lot about the book, but I think I enjoyed the movie even more! It is drastically different from the book, not so much in what happens (although there were some changes involved as well), but concerning the characters. A lot of people just didn’t exist in the movie or were portrayed completely different and usually that would annoy me, but in case of How I Live Now it weirdly enough didn’t. It was shot beautifully, it has a great soundtrack and I adore the main actors Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay. It really was heartbreaking! Other than that, there’s only to say that it was directed by Kevin Macdonald and stars (next to the people I mentioned before) Tom Holland, Anna Chancellor, Corey Johnso, Harley Bird and many others.
What did you think of the movie or book? Would you watch it after seeing the trailer? I think it is definitely a story that should be checked out even though you might hear a lot of negative things about it.