Friday, February 5, 2010

The Dead and Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This book is not a sequel to Life as We Knew It, but a companion book. The plot line is the same—moon is hit by asteroid causing apocalyptic meltdown worldwide—it is the setting and characters that are different. Miranda and her family are stranded in suburb in Pennsylvania. They are a typical middle class, divorced family, which doesn’t have official religious connections. In fact religion is not really mentioned at all.

The Dead and the Gone tells the story of Alex Morales, a son of Puerto Rican immigrants, devout in the catholic faith, and living the middle of New York City. Alex attends an all boys catholic school on scholarship, and does everything he can to prepare for a good college education. He is working at his job when the moon is hit by the asteroid, and doesn’t know what is happening at first. His mom is working at the hospital at her new job as a surgery technician, and his father is attending a wedding in Puerto Rico. Since his elder brother Carlos is a Marine in California that leaves him, a 17 year old, in charge of his two little sisters for the time being. He soon learns that his father won’t be back from Puerto Rico any time soon, and in fact may have been killed in the huge tidal waves that hit the island. Then his mom never comes back from her job, and that leaves him in the huge city fending for himself, and his sisters until things get better or until they can get out.

I really enjoyed reading this book, thought I really liked Life as We Knew It better than the dead an gone I still thought it was a riveting read. It really is much darker than the first book. Alex steals stuff from bodies to buy food on the black market. A flu epidemic hits the city and the bodies lay out on the streets to get eaten by rats. Details like that make this book a bit more depressing to read, but you again get caught up in the characters struggle to survive. Again the theme of taking care of family is a big theme in the book. Alex does all he can to protect his sisters, and you really feel for him when he has to make hard decisions about how to take care of them.

I really enjoyed reading something from a Catholic character’s perspective that didn’t portray the church structures in a bad light. Reading a book with strong Catholic religion themes isn’t something I do often. So it was nice to read something from a new point of view. I’ve discovered I like to read stories about faith. This story doesn’t really bring up the almost clichĂ© why does God allow such bad things to happen, but could still provoke interesting questions about how faith helps us to get through times of trial.

I would probably recommend this one for older teenagers as the themes are kind of dark, but it still an engaging book that is hard to put down once you get started.

Visit Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog

1 comment:

Susan said...

I didn't actually read your review, because I'm reading this one right now. As soon as I finish, I'm going to come back and see what you thought :)

So far, I like the first book better, but I'm only halfway. We'll see what happens.