Life as We Knew It

Laura Evans Character Analysis

The mother of Miranda, Matt, and Jonny, and ex-wife to Hal. Laura is an author prior to the moon incident. In the aftermath, her sole focus is keeping her family alive despite all of food shortages and dangers. Laura shows keen survival instincts, such as the foresight to stockpile food and wood, planting a garden, and moving her family from the main part of their house into the sunroom with a wood stove. Her fear throughout the novel is that she will fail in her task and have to witness her children’s deaths.

Laura Evans Quotes in Life as We Knew It

The Life as We Knew It quotes below are all either spoken by Laura Evans or refer to Laura Evans. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harcourt edition of Life as We Knew It published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Sometimes when Mom is getting ready to write a book she says she doesn’t know where to start, that the ending is so clear to her that the beginning doesn’t seem important anymore. I feel that way now only I don’t know what the ending is, not even what the ending is tonight.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

“You think we’re going to die,” I said.
Any sadness immediately evaporated and rage took its place. “Don’t you ever say that to me again!” she yelled. “None of us is going to die. I will not allow that to happen.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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“I know Mom doesn’t want us to die,” I said. I thought really hard about what I wanted to say so it would come out right. “But I think maybe she doesn’t want us to live, either. We should just hide in our rooms and not feel anything and if we get rescued, great, but if we don’t, well, maybe we’ll live a little longer. If you can call it living. I know Mom tells you things she doesn’t tell me, but am I wrong? Because I really feel that way more and more. I’d like to be wrong, because it scares me if Mom feels that way. But I don’t think I am.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans, Laura Evans
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

Maybe we’ll be lucky. Maybe something good will happen that we can’t imagine just now. But we have to prepare for the worst. You and I and Matt and Jonny have to prepare for the worst. We have to assume frosts in August. We have to assume no power and no food coming and no gas for the car and no oil for the furnace. Up till now we’ve been playacting survival, but from now on we have to take it seriously.

Related Characters: Laura Evans (speaker), Miranda Evans, Matt Evans, Jonny Evans
Related Symbols: The Ash Cloud
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 13 Quotes

But for that one moment I felt so weak, so helpless. I felt nothing but fear and despair and the most awful need to be anyplace else. I told myself it was hunger, but I knew that was a lie.
As long as Mom was all right, I could fool myself into thinking we’d all be all right. But even though I knew Mom could have fallen anytime and sprained her ankle anytime, this felt as though it was the beginning of the end.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

I know it shouldn’t bother me but it does. I can see Mom’s upset, too, even though she’s acting like she isn’t. I guess it’s because things have been kind of level for awhile, and now they’re worse again. Not big bad worse...but worse anyway.

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Laura Evans
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 15 Quotes

“But as long as we don’t know what the future is going to bring us, we owe it to ourselves to keep living. Things could get better. Somewhere people are working on solutions to all this. They have to be. It’s what people do. And our solution is to stay alive one day at a time. Everyone dies in increments, Miranda. Every day we’re one day closer to death. But there’s no reason to rush into it. I intend to stay alive as long as I possibly can and I expect the same from you.”

Related Characters: Laura Evans (speaker), Miranda Evans
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

“If we all die, you’ll leave,” I said. “Because you’ll be strong enough to. And maybe someplace in America or Mexico or somewhere things are better and you’ll manage to get there. And then Mom’s life and Matt’s and mine won’t have been a waste.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans, Jonny Evans, Laura Evans
Page Number: 273
Explanation and Analysis:
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Laura Evans Character Timeline in Life as We Knew It

The timeline below shows where the character Laura Evans appears in Life as We Knew It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...new wife, Lisa, is pregnant. Miranda is home alone when Hal calls, as her mom, Laura, is taking her younger brother Jonny to baseball practice and Miranda’s older brother Matt is... (full context)
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Later on, after the phone call is over, Laura comes home and Miranda tells her about the baby. Laura says that’s “nice,” and Miranda... (full context)
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May 8. On Mother’s Day Miranda volunteers to cook dinner for her mother (Laura) and their neighbor Mrs. Nesbitt. Miranda’s friend Megan and her mother (Mrs. Wayne) were also... (full context)
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That night while they’re doing the dishes, Laura tells Miranda that she has a date the next night with Dr. Peter Elliot. Miranda... (full context)
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May 13. Miranda describes her summer plans—Laura has granted her permission for skating lessons, and she’ll spend the month of August with... (full context)
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May 17. Miranda and Laura fight about mistakes on Miranda’s math test and her tendency to be careless in general.... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Miranda, Laura, and Jonny have dinner together and plan to make a “party” of watching the asteroid’s... (full context)
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...to check for news. Jonny asks if the world is coming to an end, and Laura reassures him that it’s not, and that he still has school in the morning. (full context)
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Matt calls from a payphone to report that conditions are the same in Ithaca, NY. Laura tries, but is unable to reach Hal or Grandma. The TV signal fades in and... (full context)
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Laura attempts to reassure Miranda and Jonny that the news reports could be exaggerated, and that... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...encouraging her to “get on with our lives and be grateful that we can,” and Laura is making a special pancake breakfast, but on the other hand she’s learning that while... (full context)
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Laura arrives unexpectedly at school to pick up Miranda. Jonny and Mrs. Nesbitt are already waiting... (full context)
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As they drive through the storm to the store, Laura is solemn as she assigns each of them a task: Jonny is in charge of... (full context)
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...on meat and produce, Miranda sticks to her mother’s plan and buys nonperishables. She, Jonny, Laura, and Mrs. Nesbitt make multiple trips to fill their carts. A man tries to steal... (full context)
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...her feel better. Despite her words to the clerk, though, Miranda is no longer teasing Laura. Miranda had compared the first store to a shopping spree game show, but now she’s... (full context)
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...the supplies are home and unloaded, they celebrate by eating a box of donuts that Laura had impulsively bought along with all the batteries, matches, and soap at the convenience store.... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...on around 4 a.m. Their schools are closed, so Miranda and Jonny stay home with Laura, and their family cat, Horton, who has been acting strangely since the lunar collision. (full context)
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Miranda, Jonny, and Laura spend most of the day putting away their supplies. With the electricity on and the... (full context)
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May 21. The president—who Laura thinks is an idiot—comes on TV to announce a national day of mourning for Monday,... (full context)
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...and since their fridge and freezer are emptied due to unreliable electricity, Jonny, Miranda, and Laura attempt to go to McDonalds. They discover that the price of gas has risen to... (full context)
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Laura finds an open bakery and buys days-old cake, cookies, and bread. They eat this with... (full context)
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...of the dead, they report that the floods have continued and people continue to drown. Laura reassures Jonny and Miranda that they are inland and safe. (full context)
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May 24. Laura takes Jonny and Miranda to look for open stores. Miranda has noticed that Laura looks... (full context)
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Laura ends up taking Jonny and Miranda to a dingy, rundown store where she buys them... (full context)
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...begins her journal entry by stating that Matt should’ve been home by now and she, Laura, and Jonny are feeling nervous—especially since it’s a clear night and the moon appears too... (full context)
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...their own problems to take on anyone else’s. No one at school was talking much. Laura had instructed Jonny and Miranda not to talk about the goods they’ve stockpiled in their... (full context)
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...Her eyes are bright and shiny in a way that reminds Miranda of the way Laura looks when she sees supplies. Megan excitedly describes how at Reverend Marshall’s encouragement, her church... (full context)
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...isn’t changed, things seem better with him there to play baseball with Jonny and help Laura organize supplies. Miranda and Matt have not yet talked about the disaster, and she knows... (full context)
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...once the buses stop. Peter stops by with a bag of apples—and since he and Laura can’t go anywhere on a date, they prepare apple crisp together and invite Mrs. Nesbitt... (full context)
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May 29-30. Electricity is becoming more and more sporadic. Whenever it comes on, Laura rushes to put in a load of laundry—but sometimes this means laundry gets done in... (full context)
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In less than ten minutes, Laura has found the names of thirty people she knows who have died. These include most... (full context)
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...day that there’s no bus service, so Matt drives Miranda and Jonny to school while Laura stays home to work on her book. The schools are even emptier than before, with... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...is pleased with all of her grades except for math—when she brings this up to Laura to ask if she should try for extra credit, Laura asks her “What’s the point?”... (full context)
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Miranda asks Matt not to treat her like a kid and explain what he and Laura are worried about. He shares that her current top concern is Jonny’s baseball camp. Laura... (full context)
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...back to normal, her grades will be irrelevant. He makes her promise not to tell Laura about their conversation, and not to start skipping meals because “We need you to be... (full context)
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June 5. Mrs. Nesbitt stops by with eggs that a former student had given her. Laura sautés them with potatoes and onions and they all share. Matt contributes a chocolate bar... (full context)
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...Miranda likes the idea of helping people—the idea of people being worse off than she is—Laura tears up the flyer and vehemently states they won’t be donating. Miranda is shocked because... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...month of August with Hal and Lisa. Matt is invited but declines because he thinks Laura will need him at home. (full context)
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When Miranda walks in the house, Laura is furious that Miranda had left without telling her. As they argue—Miranda for her autonomy,... (full context)
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They end their argument with the agreement that Miranda must tell Laura if she’s going somewhere, and Laura asking if Miranda wants lunch. Miranda doesn’t miss the... (full context)
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June 16-17. Miranda meets Dan at Miller’s Pond, where they kiss and swim. Laura picks up the family mail at the post office. She’s gotten a letter from Jonny’s... (full context)
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June 22. Miranda has a good day. Laura figures out a way to make modified pancakes out of the ingredients they have, and... (full context)
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June 24. Miranda prefaces her entry by stating that she and Laura are in a massive fight, then goes back in the timeline to recount her day... (full context)
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After swimming at Miller’s Pond, Miranda and Dan accompany Laura and Mrs. Nesbitt into town. While Laura is getting gas—a complicated process of alternating between... (full context)
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...of food to meet her mom at the gas station, she thinks about how excited Laura will be. Instead Laura becomes very quiet, and instead of driving to the other station... (full context)
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Miranda accuses her mom of thinking they’re all going to die and Laura rages that Miranda should never say that again. The fight twists into being about Miranda... (full context)
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...next morning. Matt stops by her room to try and convince her to apologize to Laura, and despite how desperate she is for her brother’s approval, Miranda resists and says that... (full context)
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...problems, but remembers how Matt respected hers and she responds seriously. When they return home Laura is preparing to bake bread, and Miranda offers to help. The gesture repairs their relationship. (full context)
Chapter 7
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July 2. Laura takes Jonny to baseball camp and comes back excited about a gas station where she... (full context)
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July 3. With Jonny off at camp, Laura suggests that she, Matt, and Miranda cut back to two meals a day. Even Matt... (full context)
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...which meal to skip—breakfast leaves her too hungry to swim, but she feels guilty watching Laura eat only a half portion at lunch. She settles on eating brunch and dinner. She... (full context)
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...storm. Everyone’s tension is high, and when Matt stays out chopping wood despite the storm, Laura and he get in a yelling match when he returns. While they’re arguing the electricity... (full context)
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...and the sky is a strange gray—but not cloudy or foggy. Miranda asks Matt and Laura about it, and they tell her that the moon’s increased gravitational pull is still causing... (full context)
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...hear that it’s a global problem that may not clear for more than a year. Laura tells her that up until this point they’ve been “playacting” at survival, and that now... (full context)
Chapter 8
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July 15-17. Despite Miranda, Matt, Laura, and Mrs. Nesbitt’s search efforts, Horton is still missing. Matt warns Miranda that it’s possible... (full context)
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...the woods while gathering kindling and searching for Horton. When she returns home, she and Laura argue when it’s revealed that Miranda had forgotten to eat. Laura insists that Miranda follow... (full context)
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...that Horton has come home. They wake up to find him yowling at the door. Laura is also relieved to find five letters from Jonny waiting at the post office, saying... (full context)
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...sort of heaven on earth that hasn’t been impacted by the moon’s collision. So when Laura pulls Miranda aside to tell her plans have changed—that Miranda and Jonny won’t be going... (full context)
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...Hal and Lisa will be picking up Jonny from camp and arriving the next day. Laura doesn’t want Hal to worry about his children, so she declares that while he and... (full context)
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Laura gives Lisa all the baby items she’d bought in the store in May. Back then,... (full context)
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...enormous amounts of wood, and that it won’t be safe to keep it outside, so Laura decides they should empty the antique furniture out of the dining room, protect the floor,... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Despite the replenished food in the pantry, Laura has started skipping meals again, which scares Miranda, who sees it as an indication of... (full context)
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August 15. Miranda asks Laura if things have gotten better with floods and quakes and volcanoes. Instead of reassuring her,... (full context)
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Laura is waiting in the kitchen when Miranda returns and the two of them embrace and... (full context)
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...make cookies, and Jonny gives a speech about the importance of sticking together, which makes Laura and Miranda cry. Miranda reflects back on her last birthday and the fights she had... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Once home, Miranda realizes they use gas for their stove and water heater. Laura reassures her they can use the woodstove for both, but Miranda wonders which is more... (full context)
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...all students are given the choice between homeschooling or attending either of the open schools, Laura says she’ll support whatever decision Miranda and Jonny make. (full context)
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...she’s going to do about getting to and from school, and doesn’t say anything to Laura about her fears. (full context)
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August 30. Laura asks Jonny and Miranda for their decisions about school. Jonny has chosen to be homeschooled,... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...extra notebooks under her shirt and fills her pockets with pens. Back home she tells Laura her decision to homeschool and promises to work hard. She then escapes to her room,... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...mom is taking a nap, Miranda decides on a whim to go examine the pantry—something Laura has asked them not to do. Instead, Laura leaves food out for them on the... (full context)
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...and begins to pour them in her mouth—eating so fast she can’t even taste them. Laura catches her, and they have a big argument during which Miranda spills the chips. Laura... (full context)
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...While there aren’t chocolate chip cookies, Mrs. Nesbitt made oatmeal raisin. Miranda eats one so Laura won’t be mad at her, but feels guilty doing so and thinks Megan is right... (full context)
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September 17. Miranda returns from collecting kindling to find Laura crying in the kitchen because she’s thinking of the man with the pregnant wife, who... (full context)
Chapter 13
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September 18. Laura trips and sprains her ankle. Since Matt and Jonny are at Mrs. Nesbitt’s house, Miranda... (full context)
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At their house, Peter diagnoses Laura with a bad sprain and wraps her ankle. Since she can’t climb stairs, they move... (full context)
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Miranda and her brothers talk about how they’ll divide up the extra work while Laura is recuperating. Miranda realizes that she needs to step up her behavior, and no more... (full context)
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September 19. Miranda keeps her mom company in the sunroom, and Laura thanks her for the way she went to get help and tells her how brave... (full context)
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...go back the next day and make sure Mrs. Nesbitt has company and to reassure Laura that she is okay. (full context)
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September 23. Peter stops by to check Laura’s ankle, which is slowly healing. Miranda tells Matt how much older Peter looks now, and... (full context)
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...spending time in the sunroom with her family, playing poker and enjoying each other’s company. Laura even trusts Miranda to go into the pantry and choose dinners—and while their supplies are... (full context)
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Peter checks on Laura and says that her ankle is beginning to mend and she can be more mobile.... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...cut off their hair because it’s becoming harder and harder to keep clean. Matt and Laura argue over whether or not to use the last of the heating oil. He wins,... (full context)
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October 18-21. Miranda dreams of Megan and hell. She wakes up in the kitchen beside Laura and misses the privacy of her bedroom. Matt volunteers to work at the Post Office... (full context)
Chapter 15
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October 26. Laura has sprained her ankle again, preventing Miranda from going back to the Miller’s Pond. Miranda... (full context)
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October 28. Peter stops by and confirms that Laura’s ankle is re-sprained. Miranda reflects on the first time Laura sprained it and how it... (full context)
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...During a visit to Mrs. Nesbitt’s house, Mrs. Nesbitt tells Miranda that it’s better that Laura can’t come visit so that she’s not the one to find her dead. Mrs. Nesbitt... (full context)
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...the sunroom, only venturing into the house to get firewood or food from the pantry. Laura gives an impassioned speech about them needing to survive and Miranda begs for and receives... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...box of old baseball cards to put aside for Jonny for Christmas and chocolates for Laura. More importantly, she finds food, medicine, and others supplies. She realizes that Mrs. Nesbitt has... (full context)
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...need to do so quickly before anyone else catches on and begins raiding. Matt drives Laura’s van over, while Miranda fills up Mrs. Nesbitt’s car and drives that to her house,... (full context)
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While Jonny and Matt bring Mrs. Nesbitt’s body to the hospital, Laura and Miranda reminisce about Mrs. Nesbitt and the special items she had bequeathed to each... (full context)
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November 8-10. Miranda finds Laura crying in the pantry over Mrs. Nesbitt. Peter also stops by to comfort her. (full context)
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The next day even Laura’s spirits seem revived and for the first time in months, she hassles her kids about... (full context)
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...They still have water at home, thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt’s well, but she, Matt, and Laura are down to one meal a day. (full context)
Chapter 17
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...Matt, who is volunteering at the post office. As the day passes and snow accumulates, Laura forbids Jonny and Miranda from going to look for him, saying “I can’t risk losing... (full context)
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...the roads, but he did see a pair of cross country skis in the garage. Laura worries about what would happen if they fall ill and needed help. They don’t expect... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...these gifts—even more so when she realizes the watch had been Mrs. Nesbitt’s. One of Laura’s presents is a photo of her as a child sitting in the sunroom with her... (full context)
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...neighbor, Mr. Mortensen, shows up unexpectedly begging for medicine because his wife is very sick. Laura reluctantly shares aspirin, but all of the Evanses are worried and Miranda feels reluctant to... (full context)
Chapter 19
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January 10. Laura wakes up ill and soon Jonny is screaming in delirium too. Matt says he’ll go... (full context)
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...with very little change. Matt seems the least sick and she’s hopeful he’ll survive, but Laura and Jonny are too weak to even swallow without assistance. Miranda is exhausted from caring... (full context)
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...the sunroom is full of smoke and everyone is choking. With Matt’s help she drags Laura and Jonny into the kitchen, then ventures down in the basement to turn off the... (full context)
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January 15-16. Laura’s fever breaks and by the end of the day she’s coherent enough to order Miranda... (full context)
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January 17-26. Miranda continues to struggle with everyone’s chores. At times she resents this. Laura and Jonny are starting to be strong enough to take a few steps, but Miranda... (full context)
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January 27. Laura tells Miranda how proud she is of the way Miranda took care of them all... (full context)
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January 30-February 4. While they’re recovering, Laura has the siblings resume schoolwork. Matt remains too weak to even climb a flight of... (full context)
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February 7. Laura’s birthday is celebrated by small tokens of love, like Jonny letting her beat him at... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...Miranda and Jonny continue to practice on the skis. Matt works on rebuilding his strength. Laura finds tulip bulbs and roasts them for a special dinner. Miranda thinks of Dan briefly... (full context)
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...his family. Miranda thinks he peeked in the pantry and saw how little food remains. Laura has practically stopped eating. They are startled by four minutes of electricity in the middle... (full context)
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...off, Miranda wishes that instead of electricity returning, they had more supplies. She worries that Laura is willing to burn up batteries on the radio because she doesn’t think they’ll be... (full context)
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...weaker due to lack of food. Miranda looks in the pantry and wishes she hadn’t. Laura asks her to skip eating a few days a week and Miranda agrees, despite the... (full context)
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...Miranda resents all the blank pages in her diary that she won’t get to fill. Laura faints from hunger because she hasn’t eaten for days. Miranda realizes that there are less... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...she doesn’t have the strength to make it there and back, but wants to spare Laura from having to see her die. She tells them she’s going to check for a... (full context)
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...Mr. Danworth promises to come back on Monday with more of the supplies they’re owed. Laura sobs, Matt shakes Mr. Danworth’s hand, and Jonny pokes through the bag as Mr. Danworth... (full context)
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...they cook supper in the microwave, which feels luxurious, but even with the new supplies, Laura has started to worry about food again and whether deliveries will be as unreliable as... (full context)