The First Few Pages

I am terrible at guessing a person’s age.

After we saw How I Live Now, I asked Phillip how old Daisy was supposed to be. I was guessing early 20s or late teens. Phillip replied that, no, she was younger than that – 15 or 16, or maybe as young as 14. I couldn’t guess how old the actress was, or what age she was playing – and that’s no fault of the actress.

(In the movie, the American 15-year-old Daisy was played by the 20-year-old Irish actress Saoirse Ronan.)

The first few pages of the book How I Live Now leave no doubt that it’s being narrated by a rebellious 15-year-old:

Now let me tell you what he looks like before I forget because it’s not exactly what you’d expect from your average fourteen-year-old what with the CIGARETTE and hair that looked like he cut it himself with a hatchet in the dead of night, but aside from that he’s exactly like some kind of mutt, you know the ones you see at the dog shelter who are kind of hopeful and sweet and put their nose straight into your hand when they meet you with a certain kind of dignity and you know from that second that you’re going to take him home? Well that’s him.

If this novel maintains this voice throughout, I am going to love this book.

If the voice changes in relation to the events I know are coming, it’s going to be even better.

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