Annabel Pitcher on a book that is sad, uplifting, angry, beautiful, personal and universal…
So many books give me author-envy! When I walk into any library or bookshop, I find my eyes glowing green at the sight of the Harry Potter series, the ‘Northern Lights’ trilogy or the brilliant ‘Bartimaeus Sequence’. I am a huge fan of fantasy, totally in awe of writers who invent elaborate magical worlds, and whose clever plots have more twists and turns than the floor routine of an Olympic gymnast. However, the story I really wish I’d written is nothing like that. It is shorter, simpler and based very much in the real world with its real problems of war, terrorism, divorce and anorexia.
That How I Live Now gets bogged down by none of these things is testament to the beauty of Meg Rosoff’s writing. This isn’t a book about issues; it’s a heady celebration of what it means to be young and foolish and rebellious and in love in difficult circumstances. Narrated in Daisy’s pitch-perfect, defiant yet vulnerable voice, it made me remember with gulping nostalgia what it was like to be a teenager. How I Live Now is impossible to define: sad, uplifting, angry, beautiful, personal and universal. Lots of books made me want to be an author, but How I Live Now made me realise what sort of author I wanted to be.
How I Live Now (978 0 1413 1801 1) by Meg Rosoff is published by Puffin at £6.99 pbk.
Annabel Pitcher won the 2012 Branford Boase Award for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. Her new book, Ketchup Clouds (978 1 7806 2030 5) will be published in November by Indigo at £9.99 hbk.