Book Illness Alert!

I have recently contracted a severe case of Pfefferitis and thought I should warn you all against what could very well become a raging epidemic of the disease . . . if you haven't contracted it already.

An intense 337-page inflammation of the mind and heart, caused by reading Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Reading Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer; inability to stop talking about reading Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer; constant low-level concern about one's own survival in case of lunar disturbance.

Progress of Disease
Stage 1: Crack open book. Start reading about the pleasantly normal life of 16-year-old Miranda, who lives in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Stage 2: In the book, the moon is knocked off kilter by an asteroid, and giant tsunamis (drawn by the moon's gravitational pull) swallow both coasts. Realize you live on the coast, and thus, in the book, you would now be dead. Gulp. However, Miranda is still alive, and so you keep reading to see how she and her family survive.

Stage 3: Miranda and all her family join a mass ransacking of a grocery store. Picture this same scene in a New York City grocery store. Gulp again. Plan to start stocking up on canned goods now, and also procuring water-purification tablets and kung fu lessons. This resolution increases in inverse proportion to the family's food supply over the months that follow.

Stage 4: Holy freaking wombats! Volcanoes have sprung up near Montreal, literally pulled out of the earth by the moon! Could that actually happen? That couldn't actually happen. But the ash from the many new volcanoes brings on a new mini ice age, and the family must burn their stockpile of wood to stay warm. Note to self: Ask landlord to install wood-burning stove in apartment, or failing that, research likelihood of volcanoes in Brooklyn.

Stage 5: Give up regular life; let dishes rot; finish book.

Stage 6: Feel renewed appreciation of life, electricity, family, sunshine, and chocolate.

Only known cure: Finish reading book, then purchase a gallon of water and three tins of canned tuna. Store all five items in a safe place. Also -- because this should be a part of every prescription -- eat chocolate.

Highly contagious, whether by person-to-person or book-to-person contact. In fact, you may have been infected just reading this. If so, do not panic! Clear your schedule, proceed calmly to your nearest bookstore/library . . . and watch out for sprouting volcanoes.