Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Almost Moon

Alice Sebold is making a pretty good career for herself writing about miserable situations - the murder of a child in The Lovely Bones, her own rape in Lucky, and, in The Almost Moon, a daughter who kills her hateful and demented mother, perhaps hours before she would have died anyway.

I'm not giving anything away. The first sentence of this book was much ballyhooed when it first came out: When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.

Eventually the book gets around to describing how horrendous the main character's mother was, and presumably why she feels nothing like guilt over killing her, only a sort of inability to do anything about it.

I had heard that the book took place in one day, but that's not really true - she kills her mother in the evening, and the the book ends the next evening, so if you're looking for that neat little literary trick, you won't find it here.

I did not enjoy the book at all, and fell into my old habit of not being able to quit something I had started. What was really shocking was that the main character (whose name I can't remember) was so unbelievable, aside from not confronting what she had done, she was meant to be, I think 50 years old or so. She read like a 20 year old, and I think Sebold, in an effort to move into a more fictional milieu (she's been very open about how influenced her first two books were by her own life, and, furthermore, I heard her say in an interview that she has a very good relationship with her mother), was slightly out of her depth.

1 comment:

Becky K said...

So I have a few comments. I hated Almost Moon, too, though I didn't finish it. It is amazing to me how many authors stun you with their first and then can't follow through with subsequent books. So, yeah, I agree.

I read a few of the Willfull Creatures stories. I hadn't read any of Bender's work before, and so I got An Invisible Sign of my Own. I liked that one a lot. It was quirky, but I expected that from the short stories. I was relieved by the ending. So often with quirky (I really like that word today I guess) the author leaves you hanging, and the protagonist doesn't learn or grow any. I was so glad that Mona wasn't left dangling or legless. She learned. She ended up being able to change the story. She found out that not every piece of paper with a number on it will result in the death of a loved one.

I have the Brief Life of Oscar whoever on hold from my library. I'll let you know what I think of it. It looks pretty good from what I've seen of it.