Paperback review: How I Live Now, By Meg Rosoff


This new edition of Rosoff’s 2004 novel, published in the year after the Iraq War had begun, is a chilling account of what happens when an enemy force invades your country and you’re separated from those you love.

 Daisy is a 15-year-old from New York whose new stepmother doesn’t want her around. Possibly anorexic and deeply cynical, she arrives at her aunt’s country house in England full of suppressed anger, but quickly falls in love with her cousin Edmond. Her aunt leaves for a short conference in Oslo, but that’s when the war starts and the children are left alone, as a military occupation ensues and they are separated from one another. The horrors then begin, and this is where the transformation of Daisy begins – her narrative voice changes with the experiences she has, and she learns how to stay alive. There’s plenty of black humour at the start, but Rosoff moves with ease into a darker, more mature tone, as Daisy loses her innocence – the very innocence that, ironically, she never thought she had.