A Critique of the Book Life as We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Categories: Literature

Popular or noteworthy novels are often modified to produce movies. Although admirers of the book are usually excited for the release of the motion picture, many end up disappointed. This letdown is due to the fact that numerous parts of the plot are omitted or altered to increase the movie’s cinematic popularity and to increase its’ potential revenues. For example, in the book Life as We Knew lt by Susan Beth Pfeffer, I believe that there are several alterations which could be made to optimize views enjoyment while maintaining the integrity of the plot.

Specifically, I would not only add more action scenes, but also would produce the story in a less “dark” and dramatic way. To leave the moviegoer fulfilled, I would also give them a tangible conclusion instead of leaving the plot open ended.

The story begins by taking a look into the everyday life of a teenager named Miranda. She worries about typical concerns such as her prom, obtaining good grades and developing friends.

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Then a catastrophic asteroid hits the moon and mayhem ensues. The earth is thrown into turmoil as natural disasters strike one after the other due to the gravitational change. Miranda has to learn to cope and survive in this tumultuous environment with her family. The earth becomes cold and in hospitable.

There is limited food and sickness is prevalent throughout the town. At the end of the book, Miranda goes into her lifeless town to die so her parents don’t see her die.

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While there, she goes to town hall and learns that there is a food program to assist families in need.

In creating a captivating movie from this novel, I believe that there needs to be more action. The bleak winter backdrop lacks animation as the plot often revolves around the lack of nourishment. To remedy this mundane subject, more engaging action could be added to further enhance the movie. For example,one way to provide action is by adding more conflict with the “gang” or black market. They are referred to in the story briefly but never talked about as a key element. I believe that if a rivalry existed between the family and the gang in order to secure firewood or food, this element could “spice things up.” During the movie, the gang could steal food from Miranda’s family as the the family would desperately try to protect their possessions. Humanity could prevail in this bleak environment as Miranda offers a peace token such as sharing a meal together.

This diversion would be a short action filled conflict which would add to the action but would not alter the plot much. A second way more action could be added is if there are more characters added to the movie. For example, Dad and Lisa could come back and live with Miranda. This would add more diversity and add more personalities to the movie. Lisa could also have her baby which could be a focus point as the others would need to go out and scavenge baby supplies in order to preserve the next potential generation. The baby would become a symbol of rebirth and “a new world” and give hope to the other survivors. These potential changes could greatly benefit the movie without amending the plot severely.

The second way in which I could augment the movie to benefit the viewer is to make it less “dark” and make the movie more upbeat. Throughout the plot, there is much death and sacrifice which in today’s world would be considered inhumane. For appeal to younger viewers and to make the story less demoralizing, I would show less signs of death and add more inspiring characters which exemplify the best qualities of humanity. Near the end of the book, Miranda is so desperate that she wants to eat an animal carcass. This comes across as horrid and heartbreaking. Instead of trying to eat animal carcasses, she could eat tree bark in the movie instead. Although this change seems small, it would preserve the happiness and sanity of the viewer. Another change in the movie version that could make the story less “dark” is to not include more positive details about the hospital. In the story, the hospital is viewed as a beacon of hope and the pinnacle of civilization. After the flu spreads, Miranda comes to the hospital in search of assistance. There, she finds one nurse who states that she should not have come as there is no civilization left. Miranda cries and falls into despair. In the movie, the hospital and the nurse scene should be revised into a positive environment for the viewer. Trying to remove some of the bleak aspects of the story and to add potential rays of hope would keep the moviegoer interested.

Lastly, I would change the ending of the movie to be more conclusive and not leave it open ended. We are left with a vague statement that reads “But today when I am 17 and warm and well fed, I’m keeping this journal for myself…..” This leads the reader to speculate what will happen in the future. The movie version would have a decisive ending. One way this could be remedied is by producing a scene where the family is eating dinner and talking hopefully about the future. This scene could also include the mayor joining them and explaining how the food supply will be constant for the future. This ending will lead the viewer to be left content with a potential hopeful ending. Another manner in which the ending could be modified is an added epilogue.

This could include a cutscene from two years later. The electricity would be on as the family convenes for a holiday. The conversation would be centered around what life was life two years ago and how it has improved drastically. The viewers would then be left feeling that the family and the characters are left in a better situation than previously predicted.

Some books remain better as novels and not turned into movies. If Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer were to be made into a motion picture, I would urge the producer to make certain changes which would enhance the viewers interest while not altering the plot. Specifically, I recommend the movie to be made with more action, to be made in less of a completely disheartening tone and to finish with a tangible ending which leaves the viewer uplifted. With these changes, this novel could be a blockbuster!

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A Critique of the Book Life as We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-critique-of-the-book-life-as-we-know-it-by-susan-beth-pfeffer-essay

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