Sunday Salon

imagesIt has finally happened.  Months have gone by since I was utterly consumed with a book, so much so that I read it at every opportunity and devoured it in a day.  But that was my day yesterday.

I was looking for fuel for the raging reading inferno that is my 11 year old daughter when I came across Suey’s 2008 Top 10 list.  In the number one slot for YA and JF (Junior Fiction) was Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I’ve seen that title around so I thought I’d investigate.  After reading the description on amazon and seeing that the appropriate age was 6th-8th grade, I decided to get it.  My local library didn’t have it, but I had a $5 Borders reward to spend, so I placed it on  hold through their website and we drove over to get it.  

I’d told my kids before we went into the store that we were just going in to pick up the book and that if they wanted anything else, they’d have to use their own money (they are loaded with birthday and Christmas money but have deposited most of it in the bank).  I’m not playing the “I’ll pay you back” game anymore. In line at Borders, there were tons of gift books and Christmas clearance items stacked up, 30% off.  Things like “Animal Art” complete with colored pencils, and “How to Draw Faces”, and a “Rock Art” set with paints- just the kind of things my kids love.  And then, *cue the angels* my daughter saw a calligraphy set with markers of varying width- $7.99 marked down from $12.99.  She is fascinated by this style of writing, but I stuck to my guns and said, “You can come back with your own money.”  Having left her purse in the car, she looked at me with horror, but I said, “We talked about this before we came in, remember?”  I’m doing my best to teach them the value of a buck.  

Back in the car, she frantically went through her little purse to see if she had enough.  I reminded her about tax, which sent her into a frenzy of counting pennies.  I had to chip in 64 cents (I’m not made of stone!) but she was able to pull it all together, mostly in quarters, and she ran back in to buy her book.  The line was long so it took another 15 minutes, during which time I decided to open up Life As We Knew It.

I was immediately drawn in, but very early on I decided this wasn’t going to be a book for my daughter.  On page 5 a joke is made about a high school girl named Samantha.  Rather than call her boy crazy or promiscuous, they say, “Well, there’s always a man in SaMANtha” and then there’s a short discourse about sex before marriage.  So, no.  I don’t want my girl thinking high schoolers are running around having sex right and left, even if they are.  I couldn’t let my 11 year old read the book until I discovered just how raunchy it would get.  I’m happy to report that the incident on page 5 was the only objectionable sexual reference in the book (makes me wonder why they even put that in).

I told my daughter I wanted to look the book over a little more before she read it.  I’m not sure she even heard me as she was in rapture over her calligraphy kit and had already pulled out the pens to admire them.  “Look how cool the pens are!  Aren’t they great, Mom?”  I know she’ll value this little kit more because she bought it with her own money than if I had just put it on the counter and handed over my credit card.

Our next stop was the mall.  My girls received Claire’s gift cards in their stockings and were itching to spend them.  While they browsed and weighed the value of hair accessories vs. toe socks, I sat on a bench and read Life As We Knew It.  40 minutes later, when they emerged with their purchases, apologetic for taking so long and excitedly chatty about how they spent their $10 gift cards, it was all I could do to tear myself away.

I read in the food court while the girls stood in line at Chic-Fil-A and Sbarro.  I read while they ate and people watched.  I read while they applied makeup (“Is it ok, Mom?”  “What?  Huh? Oh, sure, go ahead.”)  I read in the car at red lights.  I got home and read while the kids ran down the street to rake leaves at a neighbors’ house ($1 a bag).  I read while my husband took the outdoor  Christmas lights down and asked, “Weren’t you planning to take down the tree?”.  I read as I answered, “Tomorrow”.    I read as I made dinner and while everyone ate.  I read while the kids did calligraphy and watched a movie and put themselves to bed.  I read as my husband made mad, passionate love to me.  Ha Ha.  Ok that didn’t actually happen, but I definitely was that distracted by this book!  I read straight through the news and Saturday Night Live, but started slowing down as I neared the last few pages, not wanting it to end.  At 12:05 I closed the book, teary eyed but happy.  

Life As We Knew It.  Great book.  Just make sure to clear your schedule if you decide to pick it up.

Enjoy your Sunday!

22 Responses

  1. Oh, I love it when I find a book like that. I’ll have to look for Life As We Knew It.

  2. I have been in a reading dry spell lately, too! Thankfully mine was also broken yesterday when I read Once Upon a Day in nearly one sitting. (Review to come later today)

    Thanks for putting this one on my radar!

  3. Great review!

  4. I am like this with Twilight right now. I started it two days ago and have been stuck to it since.

    I am going to have to add Life As We Knew It to my list now. How can I not after your post??

  5. Wow! I’d heard of this book, and it’s definitely on my radar, but now I’ll have move it up!

    Great post. I love hearing stories about your girls. 🙂

  6. Isn’t it wonderful when you find a book that draws you in like that? It’s been a while for me, too.

  7. I just love books that are totally engrossing!

  8. My husband is asking me what I’m laughing at – the mad passionate part! You’ve sold me. I’m going to see if the library has this.

  9. I’m going to order it! Thanks for the tip. How did the calligraphy come out? Is L going to church tonight?

  10. Thanks for outlining the level of child appropriateness of this book. Just saying a book is YA or Junior Fiction often isn’t enough. I try to scan many of the books my kids read, but with four kids I can’t read them all. it is nice to have to have some help from other parents.

  11. I’m glad you found a book that wow’d you! By the way, $1 a bag?? Send ’em over! They could make a bundle at my house! Too bad we’re 3,000 miles apart! Oh well . . . Seriously, I’m going to definitely look for that book! Have a great day!

  12. Sold! Adding to my queue at the library….

  13. Now I want to know what that book is about!
    I remember being obsessed with my caligraphy set too. My sister and I were (and we still are) very artsy-fartsy and loved those kinds of kits. We had fancy colored pens, caligraphy sets, how-to-draw a billion different things books and were always trying to learn some new technique. Sis ended up getting a degree in painting from Carnegie Mellon University for crying out loud.
    Those creative juices are powerful things!
    So, what book is going to be read this week?

  14. Thanks for all the comments. Yeah, seriously, this is a really good book. It has made me think about so many things differently. I’ll write the review in a day or two.

    Sheri- Yes, both kids are going tonight for the Big Sunday dinner.

  15. Karen- what’s it about.. hmm. It’s sort of “The Road” lite. I did not like The Road at all- not one bit. But this book tells a similar tale, only way better, with actual details about what has happened, and with much more compassion.

    THe book is the diary of a high school junior. There is a “lunar event” when an asteroid hits the moon so forcefully that it changes it’s orbit, which wreaks all kinds of havoc on earth (tidal waves, earthquakes, etc). It’s about how the girl and her family survive. It is outstanding.

    What’s next? Good question. I don’t know yet. I’m enjoying just picking whatever I want rather than stressing over the next review book. I read about 50 pages of Twilight on Christmas Day so I might finish that.

  16. I love getting sucked into a book like that! That joke seems more than a bit tasteless, though.

  17. I’m so glad you loved this book! I felt about the same you did – couldn’t put it down, just loved it. You should definitely read the sequel, The Dead and the Gone. It’s a retelling of the same events from another perspective – a high school kid who lives in New York City. Also very, very good.

  18. I’m a calligrapher, so I enjoyed reading about your daughter’s fascination with the calligraphy set. I started doing invitations and placecards and certificates for people when I was 15.

    I love when a book pulls you in like that. I’ve been reading some “good enough, just OK” books lately and was dying for a book to reel me in. Now, with The 19th Wife, I cannot get enough.

  19. I wanted you to read this post… you’ll understand when you read it:


  20. […] 5 January, 2009 by Patti Thanks to Books on the Brain, I’m feeling a lot less guilty about my all-consuming weekend of reading. Since I started […]

  21. […] it! Feeling A Lot Less G… on Sunday SalonSheri on Sunday SalonBetty and Boo’s Momm… on Sunday SalonHeather on […]

  22. […] was totally engrossed in this book.  Among many other things, it made me think about how woefully unprepared we are for […]

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