How I Live Now

How I Live Now

infobox Book |
name = How I Live Now


image_caption =
author = Meg Rosoff
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
genre = Young adult
publisher = Puffin Books
pub_date = August 5, 2004
pages = 192 pp
isbn = ISBN 978-0141380759

"How I Live Now" is a young adult novel by Meg Rosoff, first published in 2004. The book won three notable awards including the Michael L. Printz Award and received generally positive reviews.

Plot summary

Set in a near future England the book tells the story of Daisy, who is 15 at the start of the novel, and is suffering from an eating disorder. Daisy has moved in with her English relatives, because her stepmother dislikes her. Daisy is a through and through New Yorker and finds the move to the English countryside quite a new experience. Daisy gets along well with her cousins, particularly Edmond who is described as being "not exactly what you'd expect from your average fourteen year old what with the cigarette and hair that looked like he cut it himself with a hatchet in the dead of night". From this initial impression, Daisy's feelings for Edmond deepened and she falls in love with him and has sexual feelings.

The book quickly changes tone when an unspecified enemy takes over England, having previously attacked other countries to draw out the British Armed Forces and leave the UK with no means of defense. With the attack occurring while Daisy's Aunt Penn is at a peace conference in Norway, the family has to scramble to survive. They spend several months without adult supervision and turn the farm house into their version of utopia, including having no social taboos, allowing Daisy and Edmond to have underage sex. Changes slowly start to occur in the English society, eventually causing soldiers to take over the farm and separate Daisy and her younger cousin Piper, from Edmond, and his two brothers. The soldiers separate the cousins, sending Daisy and Piper to another part of the country.

Daisy and Piper thus live with an English Sergeant, named Major McEvoy, and his wife, Mrs. McEvoy. They have a four-year-old son, Albert, and a son off in a boarding school who is presumed dead. Daisy cleverly interrogates Major Mac throughout their days together to find where the rest of her cousins were sent to.

The two girls are sent to work at a farm, where Piper uses their canine companion to herd cows, and Daisy picks apples and plums with other fruit pickers. Then, once again, their life is thrown into turmoil. On the way home from work one day, an ingrate who has a crush on Daisy starts to yell at the terrorists at one of their check points. The boy is shot in the head, but survives; and Major Mac goes to check the injury, which leads to he himself getting shot.

Major Mac's death led to a revolt led by vigilantes in the area. A friend of Mac's informs Daisy and Piper that it is no longer safe to simply live in your own home (or in their case, a complete stranger's.) Daisy and Piper are taken away by a horde of rebellious English soldiers that are left over from scattered platoons kept within the country, while the main regiment of England's army is off in other countries.

Eventually, the camp is discovered by the terrorists, and the two cousins are forced to flee. A soldier who has a soft spot for Piper gives them provisions and directions home. Thus, the girls start on a long, hard journey. Daisy had, once again, pumped all the soldiers for information, on how to survive in the wilderness, since she was planning on returning home to Edmond anyhow. The journey is hard, and food is scarce; once, Piper even fed them poisonous mushrooms by mistake.

The girls finally find the river right by their house, and determine all they have to do to get home is follow the route upstream. Unfortunately, even before they set foot on homeland, they see a few familiar faces. Bodies were strewn along a clearing, and Daisy recognizes one of the bodies as Dr. Jameson, someone she met before being stolen away via the soldiers. Then, they see their old pet, Ding, ridden by hunger and disease. Daisy kills it with a gun a soldier had given her.

Their food is almost all drawn out, but they arrive safely at their home, or, rather; their barn. Daisy is scared they'll starve. Then, she remembers that Isaac had hidden away a supply of food one night when they had slept over in the barn. The girls are set for a good while.

After resting, they travel to the main home (a good two miles away). They wash. They clean. There are no signs of Edmond, Osbert or Isaac. Daisy is disappointed and feels like she can't feel Edmond with her anymore, spiritually, and is terrified at the notion that perhaps he died, which is why he is no longer with her. She starts to visit the house obsessively at least twice a day.

One day, the phone rings when she is inspecting the house yet again. It's her father. He takes her home immediately through 'international connections', leaving Piper within someone else's care.

Years pass. Daisy tells that, somehow, time just passed, as she worked, read and, eventually got over her eating disorder. Piper sends Daisy a letter. Daisy's father sends her back to England, where the cousins are all united. Isaac has opened up a little more. Piper is now a woman and is in love with a man named Jonathon; who wishes to be a doctor, like Piper, and they are to be wed.

Daisy is shocked when she finds Edmond. He is covered with self-inflicted scars. He is angry and distant from Daisy, not even saying a simple word to her at first. Daisy, at first, is afraid to ask what happened to Edmond. When she finally gains the courage, Piper's boyfriend goes into a tale of what happened to the village they were stationed at. Isaac wanted to run, because the villagers would not, being too attached to their homes. Isaac and Edmond could both feel something very, very bad was about to happen; but the villagers simply would not listen to the two young men. Edmond refused to leave, wanting to help the souls left behind. Isaac left Edmond, thinking perhaps he'd follow if he realized his brother was gone. Edmond didn't follow Isaac. Instead, he watched as the whole village was slaughtered by enemy soldiers. The soldiers imprisoned him. Edmond was so quiet, and practically dead, that they did not harm him. One day, Edmond, still quiet as a ghost, got up and simply walked away. The soldiers didn't notice. Daisy, shocked by all of the strings she must pull together, is hit with another blow: Isaac arrived at the house a mere two days after she was taken away to America, and Edmond arrived a few months later. The only way Edmond had stopped himself from killing himself was by tending to a garden. It's wild and vicious and it is here that Daisy finds a way to connect to Edmond, planting and tending plants with him. Finally, she's brave enough to turn to Edmond and tell him how much she loves him. Edmond responds with, 'Then why did you leave me?'. As Daisy spills her story, Edmond stays deadly silent. Finally, when she finishes, he takes her hands and holds them, and says "OK." And Daisy responds in her mind with, "It's a start..."

This is the end. Daisy leaves the book off, with; "After all of this time, I know exactly where I belong.Here. With Edmond.And that's how I live now."

Awards and nominations

*2004 Won the Guardian Award [ [http://books.guardian.co.uk/childrensfictionprize2004/0,14765,1263070,00.html Guardian Award 2004] ]
*2004 Shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year [cite web |url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article390829.ece |title=Interview: Amanda Craig meets Meg Rosoff |accessdate=2008-06-24 |date=2004-11-14 |publisher=The Times]
*2004 Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal [ [http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/ The CILIP Carnegie Medal & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards] ]
*2005 Won the Michael L. Printz Award [ [http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/booklistsawards/printzaward/Printz.cfm Michael L. Printz Award] ]
*2005 Won the Branford Boase Award [ [http://www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk/ Branford Boase Award] ]
*2005 Shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize [cite web |url=http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,1503766,00.html |title=Seven books vie for teen fiction prize |accessdate=2008-06-24 |date=2005-06-10 |publisher=The Guardian]

BBC Radio adaption

In 2007 the novel was adapted for radio by Elizabeth Burke. There were five parts of fifteen minutes each, which aired daily from 12 to 15 November as the Woman's Hour Drama on BBC Radio 4. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/radio/wk46/mon.shtml BBC Radio Programme Information: Week 46, Monday] ]

Cast:
* Greta Clough as Daisy
* Matthew Barry as Edmond
* Heidi Woodrow as Piper
* Brendan Charleson as Daisy's father
* Erica Eirian as Aunt Penn
* Richard Mitchley as Major McEvoy
* Gareth Warren as Joe

It was directed by Kate McAll and the music was composed by John Hardy.

References

External links

* [http://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm?book_number=1475 Reviews]
* [http://www.thebookstandard.com/bookstandard/events/teen_book_video/HILN.jsp "How I Live Now" Book Video]


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