How I Have Longed to be able to write that on here! Finally! My favourite book by my favourite author hits the big screen. And what a film! As I can’t be someone who has both read the book and not, I have no means of knowing if the bare and slightly changed bones of How I Live Now will be likely to confuse anyone coming fresh to the film.
I don’t think it should be a problem. People will simply see a really good film. A frightening film, and considerably darker than the book, Meg Rosoff was right to warn people not to take their under 14s to see it.
Having already come to the conclusion that Saoirse Ronan looks just like Daisy should (which in itself is amazing), I was further gratified to see that the house looks exactly as I had imagined it, and the country lanes were the very lanes I’d walked along in the book. This hardly ever happens in films. Gradually you might get used to actors and settings, but for them to be right from the start is almost unheard of.
The cynical and jaded American teenager Daisy comes to England to visit her unknown cousins, but before you know how it happened, their countryside idyll has been ruined by war breaking out. Daisy and her young cousin Piper are separated from the two boys, Isaac and Edmond, and taken somewhere to help with the war effort. Daisy’s only thought is to escape and get back to the house where she fell in love with Edmond.
She and Piper make the agonisingly long walk back (but a lot easier looking in the film) to what appears to be hell. Without the novel’s New York style smart background commentary from Daisy, this is a lot bleaker.
Beautifully shot and surprisingly well adapted, How I Live Now is a great film, which hopefully will bring many new fans to Meg Rosoff’s books. Daisy with all her imperfections is a marvellous role model.