Saturday, January 16, 2010
The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Book Review)
Shared by Kristi Herbrand
Title: The Dead & the Gone
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
My synopsis: Alex is 17, a junior in high school, and living in New York City when the moon is hit by asteroid and knocked off it's axis. His mom is called in to the hospital she works at to help deal with the emergency and his dad is in Mexico attending a funeral. Alex does not realize it at the time, but neither parent will return and he is left to care for his 2 younger sisters, Briana and Julie.
Where Life As We Knew It was a teenager's perspective of the catastrophe in a smaller, more rural area - The Dead and the Gone deals with a teenager's perspective in a large city. As the realization that everything has changed becomes evident, Alex decides to send Briana to the country to live and work at a convent. She will be helping with the farming, but she will also have food to eat everyday, which will mean the food supplies he has for himself and Julie will last longer.
Even with Briana gone, things are still tough. Alex becomes hardened to seeing dead bodies everywhere and soon is taking things off the bodies to trade for food. As the weather becomes uncharacteristically cooler, Julie and Alex continue to live alone and attend school in order to get the free food at lunch. They return home one day to find Briana home, suffering from asthma. She was sent home because she could no longer work outside. Now the food that was in short supply already just became more meager. How much longer can they survive like this?
My thoughts: This book also had an underlying theme of hope in a hopeless situation - and of a family growing closer together and overcoming adversity together. Alex already seemed to be somewhat mature and ready for responsibility. I think the real growth came from Julie though. She was the youngest and as all younger children tend to be, a little spoiled. Alex did not get along with her at all, so was happy for Briana's interference. It was hard for him to send Briana away because that meant he would have to deal with Julie alone. Julie quickly grows up though, and becomes a big help to Alex, hardly ever complaining and joining Alex in caring for Briana when she returns. I am looking forward to the next book The World We Live In to see where things will go from here.
The Dead & the Gone
Publisher/Publication Date: Harcourt, 2008 (though a paperback version was just published this month from Graphia)