How do you think the world will end? Giant tsunamis? Earthquakes? Meteors? Alien Invasions? In her debut novel, Karen Thompson Walker takes a different approach to the apocalypse. What if the world started to slow down? Days and nights would get longer and the entire ecosystem would be thrown out of whack. How would humans react to this shift? Could we adapt successfully?
This book brings up a lot of questions about the future of Earth. How much control do we really have over the world’s fate? Some would argue that humans are responsible for most of the climate changes we are experiencing today, while others claim that it would have happened anyway. It is inevitable that people are going to have different reactions to such a catastrophic change in the environment and in the book characters act according to their beliefs. Some believe that humans should do everything possible to restore society to what it once was, and others think “the slowing” is a sign that humans should go with the flow. Other characters become so overwhelmed they shut down and can barely function.
The story is told from the point of view of Julia, and 11 year old only child living in California. Her life changes dramatically after “the slowing” and not only because there are now more than 24 hours in a day. She must deal with losing her best friend to the popular crowd, bullies at the bus stop, and her parents’ difficult relationship. She also meets someone who will change the way she sees the world. As she navigates her way through adolescence it becomes clear that for Julia, her personal relationships and blossoming self-awareness take center stage over the ever-changing environment.
This book made me wonder what it would be like to live in Julia’s world. Would the slowing of the planet (and all of the repercussions) change my priorities? Would I still worry about the little things or fume over an argument? I would like to think I would let those things go and focus on the time I had left with the people I love, but I can’t be sure. I feel that we are programmed to care about “the little things” in life and it takes a personal decision to change that, not something external, no matter how extreme the external forces could be.
If you are looking for a thought-provoking read, I would definitely recommend this book.
Recommendation: 4 out of 5 lupines.
- This Just In: Children’s Librarian Reads Adult Book! And LOVES IT! (robbinslibrary.wordpress.com)
- The Age of Miracles examines what happens when the world stops turning (theglobeandmail.com)
- The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (bookmonkeyscribbles.wordpress.com)