The Age of Miracles

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had a lot of hype, but I don’t think it lives up to the promise. I like the idea of “what if?” stories, and the premise of this one was thought provoking. It was a short, easy read and enjoyable as far as it went, but the problem in the end is that it never went anywhere. I don’t know why this is marketed as an adult book. The protagonist is 11 years old, but she comes across as more like 14 or 15. It’s a coming of age story that never wrestles with any adult concepts. I would categorize this as sci fi except that the science of what is causing the problem is never explored. Nor does anyone ever make any effort to try and find a solution. Everyone is just resigned to the changes and attempts to cope with them in their own way. I did enjoy the speculation of how the world might be affected by the slowing down, although one major omission – one I would have expected with an 11-12 year old girl narrator – what affect did it have on menstrual cycles?? One good thing I can say – I did feel as if I were “there” while reading it. I half expected to come out of the break room at work to find we were open in the middle of the night.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

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