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.
Referred to as "the slowing" throughout the book, the Earth's rotation gradually slows. The devastating results are innumerable as the days and nights each get longer and longer; gravity becomes stronger and effects everything from the birds to major league baseball; the tides shift as tens of thousands of whales beach themselves; and the weather extremes are only part of the reason for the dying of crops. The changes to the planet are relatively slow, "It was, at the beginning, a quite invisible catastrophe."
Since my family is more likely to watch the Discovery Channel than Bravo, I was extremely intrigued by the premise of THE AGE OF MIRACLES. At least once while reading, I asked my husband to help me wrap my head around the science behind the earth's rotation - something I had never before questioned. It sparked quite the discussion in our house, which immediately made me think of my book club.
As slow as the changes were to the planet in this book, the opposite was true of the people inhabiting her. Julia, our eleven year old protagonist, is in middle school, a time when change already happens rapidly. As the earth's slowing is a gradual process, is as fast as Julia's life changes. Her friends, her family, her thoughts and deeds all seem to change at light speed.
The prose is ominous as Julia's future self gives readers hints of what is to come with phrases like, "This was not true later..." or "At that time..." or "In those days..." or worse yet, "I learned later..."
The ending only sparks more questions, making this a great book club or family read. Since the main character is in middle school, I found myself turning to the information page to make sure that I was not reading a book marketed to the Young Adult crowd. Instead, you will find this on the adult shelf of your bookstore, but has wonderful potential as a family summer read.
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About the Book:
KAREN THOMPSON WALKER holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and is an editor of fiction and non-fiction at Simon & Schuster. The Age of Miracles is her first book.
For more information about Karen and The Age of Miracles, please visit the book’s website, www.TheAgeofMiracles.com, and Facebook page.
Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and Random House for inviting me to be a host for THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker. For more information and other reviews of this book, please visit the tour page.
*Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher