Monday, July 16, 2012

BOOK: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, 269 pages

Random Reading Challenge: Debut Authors

Of all the calamities that we imagine happening to the earth (global warming, extinct animals, over-population) the worst one will be the one we aren't expecting. Karen Thompson Walker imagines that the Earth will slow in its rotation. Days, and nights, become longer, with repercussions to all living things on Earth.

What I liked about the story was that this catastrophe on Earth was simply the backdrop, the main story was a coming of age remembrance of a twelve year old girl, Julia, in California. She is looking back as a young woman, on this tumultuous time in her life. Navigating the usual almost-teenage time of friends changing, figuring out who your parents really are, and finding your place in the world. The challenges she faces - her grandfather's strange reaction to the changing world, a new possible boyfriend, best friends that outgrow you, are all the same, she just had the added problem of longer days and nights. She becomes aware of political effects - the real timers versus the clock timers.

Unfortunately, taking this focus meant that the Earth slowing effect isn't dealt with very much. It just became the new reality for Julia, and she mentions some of the science (gravity is slightly stronger for example) but mostly how it affects her. Because she led a relatively privileged life - her father is a doctor, less weather fluctuations in California to begin with, the effects on her were still mostly teenage problems. Imagine how this Earth slowing would have affected a poor child in Canada, where weather is already more extreme, and who wouldn't be able to buy a greenhouse to grow their own food? But, that is a different book, and Walker did a great job of the book she wrote, telling the story of Julia the way she wanted to.

also reviewed: rhapsody in books weblog; lindsay's mom at reeder reads;

I read this book for the Random Reader Challenge: Debut Authors. Check out the link to see what books you can read for this challenge.