Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Title: The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: June 26, 2012
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old 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."

My Two Cents:

This is what "The Age of Miracles" makes me think of:
"This is the way the world ends 
This is the way the world ends 
This is the way the world ends 
Not with a bang, but with a whimper"
- From T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men

I kept thinking about the ending of this poem over and over and over again. I really like the poem and I really liked the book. Julia is 11 years old when the world starts to slow down. No one knows why it's happening. Days get longer and longer with no reason. Even though the entire world is changing, Julia is very much plagued with some of the things that so many of us face during middle school. First crushes, growing up, wanting acceptance, and friend issues all make an appearance here. It was interesting to see all of these relatively normal issues juxtaposed with the completely weird issue of the world slowing down.

This is definitely an original story. Although the main storyline is Julia's coming of age with the slowing of the world as a backdrop, the slowing of the world aspect was very interesting to me. I liked all of the detail and world building about what it would be like for things to end or slow down this way.

It was unclear to me as to whether Julia was narrating the story as an older person looking back or whether she was narrating it in the present. The points of view seemed to change a little bit depending on the topic being discussed but the prose throughout is very much mature and therefore may not have fit well with an 11 year old telling the story.

The ending was weird for me. I was expecting the world to end by the end of the book especially considering how quickly things happened in the first months of the slow down. The book ends and Julia is in her 20s and planning to go to college so it almost seems like after the slow down, nothing really happened. I wanted to know more about why the slow down slowed down. And this is where the whimper comes in...

Overall, I really enjoyed this book for its originality. I haven't read a lot of adult dystopian but I thought this one was very well done!


  1. A genre which is new for me as well but you've got me interested.

  2. I found the ending really strange, too -- and ultimately unsatisfying. I really wanted to like this story, but something kept holding me back.

  3. I've seen this cover around but really didn't know what the story was. Now that I do, I definitely want to read it. Thanks for the review!

  4. I loved this one!!! Definitely a unique story - in an overpopulated field of end-of-the-world genre books!!!


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