How much is too much truth in fiction? Isn’t the point of fiction to be able to make up a brand new “world” – even if it’s the exact same world we live in today?
Recently I read a 1 star review for the book I read the other day – Life As We Knew It. I don’t want to give out too much of the plot here and ruin it for anyone, but basically the reviewer was mad that the townsfolk of the community the protagonist lived in didn’t act like “real” people would. Just to give a bit of an overview of the novel – the moon is pushed from its orbit closer to Earth, which causes weird weather patterns, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes erupt covering the entire planet in ash to where they can’t even see the sun anymore. Then there is no weather, followed by a completely arctic winter (it takes place in Pennsylvania, USA). Meanwhile, people are fending for themselves. Neighbors don’t speak to neighbors, no one tells anyone else how much food/wood/blankets they have. And so on. It’s a pretty bleak existence after the moon is pushed closer to Earth.
Anyway, the 1 star reviewer (which you can read on Amazon, though it will give away spoilers!) referred to the novel as doomsday light. I don’t know, first of all, this is a kid’s book for all intents and purposes. And while Harry Potter dealt with a lot more death on a personal level than this novel did, I can still see not wanting to kill of every single living person there is. Secondly, and my main point in all of this is, who would even want to read the dead kid’s novel? The girl who fought for a week then died. The point of reading this novel from this character’s point of view is to see how she pushed on, how her brother’s and her mother fought to live and survive – is it really so hard to believe that if the world suddenly went into turmoil right now like the moon coming closer to Earth, that there wouldn’t be at least one family out there that fought and struggled and lived? THAT would be the story I’d want to read, not the one about the kid who fights for a minute then dies of the flu halfway through the winter.
Not to mention the whole thing is fiction anyway. It’s not real, so what if the neighbor lady is super sweet and never tries to steal their food? She’s not real.
Ok…I feel like that rant made a lot more sense in my head, but there you have it!