The Age of Miracles

By Karen Thompson Walker

The Short Take:

The earth’s rotation is slowing down and a lonely young girl is turning into a woman. This book has gotten raves and it is a nice read. I bet book clubs across the country are or will select it. However, I found it profoundly depressing.

Why?

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with books that have depressing themes. Some of them are wonderful. This one just didn’t quite do it for me, however I strongly suspect I am in the minority.

The writing is nice. The plot moves along at a quick pace. The pre-teen Julia is an engaging  protagonist. The premise that the earth’s rotation is continually slowing (so that a single day reaches 40 hours and more) is certainly unique as far as I am concerned.

Possibly, as a casual science buff, I was impatient with the lack of science in the book. Plus, I found it hard to believe everyone would simply soldier on, with very few signs of panic or despair. Perhaps the reason so many like this book is because it is low key, while we live in a time when every day seems to bring new promises of eminent destruction or ruin, that can be enheartening.

A Little Plot:

It’s an ordinary day in a southern California suburb when the announcement is made that the earth’s rotation is slowing, and it will continue to slow. After a few weeks of confusion and some (just some) panic, the decision is made to stick with “clock time” and ignore when the sun is up or down.

Only child June continues to go to school, like most of the kids. She continues to admire from afar the brooding young man she longs for. She is shunned by her former friends who are rushing into adulthood.

Life goes on. But, how can it really continue?

For more about the author and her book, click here.

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