This book has been on my radar for quite a while, though I didn’t quite realize it. What I did know was a small movie had been released starring Saoirse Ronan, as an American sent to England during a time of turmoil, surviving in the country after war breaks out with an unnamed enemy. As a sucker for post-apocalyptic fiction of any sort, I waited for months before I was able to finally track it down and watch it. It wasn’t until a few days after that I realized it was a book. I found it in the online library database immediately, put a hold on it and had it in my hands the next week.
It’s a thin novel, and I read it quite quickly, with the movie fresh in my head. So the two are irrevocably linked in my mind, and this review is unavoidably about the pair, together.
It’s a strong tale, about a cantankerous teen girl sent to live with cousins she doesn’t know right when a world war breaks out. She’s stuck in occupied territory without adults, and what quickly develops is a kid-based utopia of cluelessness and isolation, living in the moment and oblivious to the real world. Of course, this doesn’t last forever.
The heroine in the book is not quite as snappy and cold as in the movie, and there are changes in the details, characters morphed into one, one big bomb vs a lot of not-so-big bombs. The underlying story remained the same. In this case I’m glad I saw the film first, as the changes aren’t substantially significant and make sense for the medium. Had I read the book first, I would have been honor bound to shake my fist and say, “That’s not how it was in the book!”
The book itself is written in diary style, which I, personally, find annoying. The missing punctuation and fragmented sentences take me out of the moment, and I generally think they do a disservice to story telling, but I do see why she wrote it as such. Luckily, the narrator found her grammar and punctuation as the character matured, so it was only irritating for a while. I do think the author did a fantastic job with the voice of a teen, though. And Saoirse Ronan is an actress of quality, who gave the role of movie Daisy a gravity that I couldn’t help but attribute to the book Daisy as well.
Together, they get an aggregate 4 stars.