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The Valley of the Moon

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  944 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
A road novel 50 years before Kerouac, The Valley of the Moon traces the odyssey of Billy and Saxon Roberts from the labor strife of Oakland at the turn of the century through central and northern California in search of beautiful land they can farm independently.
Paperback, 404 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1913)
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90 Miles to Freedom by K.C. HiltonThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. HeinleinThe Moonstone by Wilkie CollinsMoon Palace by Paul AusterBeneath the Neon Moon by Theda Black
Moon
114th out of 123 books — 44 voters
The Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckCannery Row by John SteinbeckThe Day of the Locust by Nathanael WestEast of Eden by John SteinbeckThe Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson
Best California Books
55th out of 183 books — 141 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Amber
Aug 09, 2007 Amber rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: topshelf
If you were to read any book by Jack London, this is the one. Especially if you are twenty something and live in the San Francisco East Bay Area. The book may have been written almost one hundred years ago, but all the issues are still very real and very applicable. It is a moving story and very refreshing.
Corinne
Here now is my Sock Puppet Theater script for this book:

Saxon: Hello.
Billy: Hello. I enjoy talking about my ancestors, and how white they were, and what good stock they were, and how much they suffered.
Saxon: I enjoy talking about how they came here before these other dirty immigrants, and are therefore way more awesome. Also how my form and figure reflect the old stock.
Billy: We should get married, and talk about this all the time.
Saxon: Yay!
Saxon's Sister: BITCH YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE PA
...more
Chris
Mar 26, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
Jack London never fired blanks. There isn’t a book of his that I’ve read where he isn’t trying to mortally wound a lazy convention, a notion taken for granted, or what often passes for common sense. London’s exhortation is always, in my words, “Think! Act! Live to the fullest!” He believes in the power of the will and body, and despises those who fear their own breath fogging the mirror. One of my favorite lines from his works, “I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live ...more
Heather
Mar 30, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
I bought the book on a camping trip to see Jack London's home in Sonoma county. I'm just reading it now, and am about halfway through. I'm impressed with how well London writes from a female perspective, though there is a certain lack of depth. That said, it is fascinating to read a book set in Oakland in the early 1900s, reading about familiar places and streets is great for the imagination. Jack London's opinion of the world comes through clearly in each character, and you can recognize his ab ...more
Kristie (fabk)
May 06, 2013 Kristie (fabk) rated it really liked it
I read this book in highschool and absolutely fell in love with it. Definetly a good read!
Re-read in 2013. Loved it as much this time around as the first time around! The characters and their journey really spoke to me!
Perry Whitford
Jan 17, 2016 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Working class, proto-Beat Generation epic, fifty years before Kerouac and company, set in Oakland during the first years of the 20th century.

Saxon Brown, who works in a laundry sweatbox, and Billy Roberts, a teamster and occasional prizefighter, have a whirlwind romance then struggle to get by against a backdrop of the tensions between capital and labor, which result in strikes and hardships.

But through all the hard times, plucky Saxon, who is proud of the image her name conjures up and of the
...more
Lorraine
Mar 23, 2015 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many people associate Jack London with Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, White Fang, and of course the short story “To Build a Fire.” Most do not realize that he wrote some 50 books and hundreds of short stories and essays. The Valley of the Moon was written in 1913, three years before he died at the age of 40.

The first part of the book takes place in Oakland during troubled economic times and labor strikes playing havoc on many people’s lives. Billy and Saxon are the main characters who are n
...more
Anastasia
Apr 12, 2014 Anastasia rated it really liked it
Достаточно наивная и, на первый взгляд, непритязательная история молодой пары, ищущей своего немудрёного счастья, на глазах превращается в жизненную драму, где каждый персонаж настоящ от кончиков волос до кончиков пальцев, где нет ни одного лишнего слова и ни одного лишнего действия. Лондон настолько точен в своих описаниях и настолько филигранен в обращении с придуманными событиями, что возникает ощущение, будто смотришь фильм, снятый высококлассным режиссёром. Каждый эпизод на своём месте, а о ...more
Susie
Feb 25, 2010 Susie is currently reading it
After spending a long weekend in 'the valley of the moon', I felt compelled to read this book. I'm only a few pages in, but I like it already.
Ksanka Koff
Feb 22, 2016 Ksanka Koff rated it it was amazing
После "Маленькой хозяйки Большого дома" поняла, что Лондон - родственная душа и стала читать всё, что попадало в руки и всё, что сумела раздобыть, написанное им. "Лунная долина" стала прекрасным открытием, которое я сделала для себя в январе этого года. Понравилось краткое описание романа и я решила отправиться за этой книгой в библиотеку, где мне смогли найти этот роман с большим трудом. Книга оказалась ветхой, её никто не брал в течение многих лет. Любой книгоман поймёт, что такой расклад моме ...more
Scott Cox
This book was published the same year of Jack London's death at the age of 40. It has been called the 2nd of his "resurrection" novels (the other being Martin Eden), in that it describes his agrarian (& marital?) hopes & dreams to help him overcome the distresses of alcohol, tobacco, drug addiction. The novel reflects the social Spencerian Darwinism prevalent in his day, yet it also portrays ethnic groups in a somewhat progressive manner for his time (e.g. San Leandro Portuguese & De ...more
Carole
Jan 11, 2013 Carole rated it really liked it
I had never heard of this book by Jack London until we chose it to read in my book club. I'm glad that we did. The language is often filled with slang of the era in which it takes place, and that was a little hard to get used to at first. I have a problem sometimes with slangy writing. However, the story of Saxon and Billy is, among other things, a love story that starts off with a bang, and then endures through difficulties and hard times. Saxon and Billy end up pursuing a pretty wonderful drea ...more
Undrakh Ganzorig
Jan 22, 2011 Undrakh Ganzorig rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Саран хөндий ...сайхан хайрын түүхээс гадна хүсэл, тэвчээр, итгэл нийлээд гайхамшгийг бүтээж чадна гэдгийг харуулсан . Билл , Саксон 2 аз жаргалаа , амар тайван амьдарч чадах газраа хайн их хотоос зориг шулуудан үүргэвч , багахан мөнгөнөөс өөр юу ч үгүйгээр гарцгаадаг . Тэдэнд юу тохиолдож , хаачих тухайгаа огтхон ч мэдэхгүй байсан боловч бие биенээ үнэнчээр хайрлаж байсан нь хэцүү бэрхийг туулах ганц тулгуур нь болдог. Тэднийхээ хүрч чадаагүй бүхнийг олохын төлөө хичээх болноо ...
Miso
Jul 24, 2014 Miso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Гэгээн сайхан хайрын түүх, тэр тусмаа эмэгтэй хүний тэсвэр тэвчээр, ухаалаг холч бодол эрэгтэй хүний сайн залуур харах хараа, зорилго болдогийг өгүүлсэн сайхан роман. Эмэгтэй хүн өдөр бүр хайрлагдахын тулд хэрхэн биеэ авч авах, ямар ааш аягийг үзүүлэх хийгээд ямар ч нөхцөл байдалд эр нөхөр нь орсон ч орхихгүй өдөр бүр улам хайрлахын жаргал, зовлонг тус романд өгүүлнэ. Ингэхдээ тус романаар Жек Лондон тухайн цаг үеийнхээ нийгэм, улс төрийн байдал, ажилчны анги, газар өмчлөх газар тариалангийн эхл ...more
Ducky T
Oct 20, 2015 Ducky T rated it really liked it
Feel like this one took a while. Part 1 was a real drag. Lots of love and courting for the romantics. Part 2 is a great portrayal of the labor issues facing the early 20th century. Unions, strikes, strikebreakers, beating of the scabs, and the police and media supressing the unions at every step. Finally part 3 gets to the road trip the book is known for. Such lovely pastoral scenes, wild times in Carmel reminiscent of the beats 40 years later. Reading of the beautiful open landscapes of the Bay ...more
Peter
Aug 24, 2008 Peter rated it it was ok
Very boring. Basically the story is a couple's life in Oakland sucks, so they move to Sonoma.
Mattias Olshausen
Mar 05, 2016 Mattias Olshausen rated it did not like it
I only made it about halfway through this book, the only one by Jack London I didn't finish. I'm a huge fan of so many of his other works, but this is hack work, in my opinion. London's racism and crude obsession with brute strength come across very starkly, beginning with the name of the main character - Saxon! They come across in other books, too, but in most of those the story is so gripping that they're a bit easier to forgive.

There are other non-Northland London titles that are very, very g
...more
Kelly
Apr 02, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it
Was enchanted after visiting Glen Ellen and Sonoma Valley and wanted to gain more of an insight of who Jack London was. This book had many personal experiences of London in the book. I recognized many details from the area and his home in Glen Ellen. I felt the main character Saxon was modeled after his wife. His love of nature, horses and farming are a major part of this story also. London's descriptions of life in Oakland were interesting. I wasn't familiar with this period of history in Oakla ...more
Ochiroo
May 09, 2013 Ochiroo rated it it was amazing
Төгсгөл нь үнэхээр сад тавьмаар шүү
steve jensen
Mar 29, 2015 steve jensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A love story...(not a romance novel)

This story takes place in the many areas where I grew up, as my parents moved around a lot for reasons possibly explained in this writing. How could Mr London have known that though written in a different era the beauty of the magnificent California coast and countryside, charming towns and, especially, the agricultural communities are still as desirable today? That the social issues remain the same?
That some of us will always see the glass half full...
Edina Rutland
Apr 19, 2016 Edina Rutland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I had a little bit of struggle at times with this book, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Billy and Saxon. I live in the Bay Area so learning about the strikes and the life of the working class at the turn of the 20th century was fascinating for me. I could identify with the young couple's journey for a better life, for something simpler but more fulfilling. Much of the Bay Area is now about city life but the Sonoma Valley where they eventually settled still has that rustic feeling with it ...more
Kenterol
Aug 18, 2014 Kenterol rated it it was amazing
I liked this book very much. It's my favorite book. I read it many (many, many, many) times.


What can I say about this book? When characters in books are closer to you then real people, you grow up a bit different. I was around eleven when I first read this book. At that time I was discovering a better place than the one I was living in. Magical lands and daring adventures was what was keeping me happier. But then I found the American classics of Jack London and O. Henry. And Jack London is undou
...more
Karen
Nov 24, 2014 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
London turns his talents from wilderness adventures featuring humans and/or animals in life-or-death struggles and writes a book about finding the ideal social order and The Promised Land. This novel focuses on the struggles that one couple experience chasing The American Dream.

As we watch Billy and Saxon suffer under harsh conditions as laborers in Oakland, California in the 1890s, we see London's meditations on socialism, immigration, gender, class struggle, racial conflict, environmentalism,
...more
John
Aug 05, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Jack London is genereally associated with the great outdoors, be it the Klondike, the Seven Seas, Tahiti, the West. His protagonists are generally well-muscled, hard-drinking idealists who have a soft spot for untamed, powerful animals and Socialist dogma. The villains are generally financiers, swindlers, capitalists, greedy bosses, patricians or, in many cases, the forces of nature. There is a good chance that the hero of a Jack London novel has chosen a tough road to walk down but stands defia ...more
Sharon
Apr 23, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
The story of love between the boxer/horse team driver Billy and his feisty wife Saxon. They meet in Oakland just after the turn of the 20th century. They go on to travel all over northern CA, in search of their "valley of the moon," to settle in the perfect place in the country. Having lived in Palo Alto for a time, many other visits to SF, and dear friends who live a modern version of Bill & Saxon's country life in Sonoma, I so enjoyed reading about the long gone days when CA was mostly wil ...more
Aydar Muslimov
Aug 26, 2014 Aydar Muslimov rated it really liked it
This book left me with pretty ambiguous feelings. On the one hand, it shows fantastic love story of two young people, how they went trough a big number of problems emerged and were able to preserve their love between each other. However, I found first part of the book quite difficult to read, because Jack London put a lot of attention to details of strikes. So, it would be great to have some level of background knowledge of American history, before reading. Also, the conclusion was quite messy a ...more
Neil
Jun 18, 2010 Neil rated it liked it
My first Jack London book, I may read another, this didn't really bowl me over, but I think other of his books may be of more interest.
I must admit I got very tired with the first 1/2 of this 530 page book, in fact I almost gave up once or twice, it wasn't till Billy got put in jail and Saxon became half mad that I really started to enjoy it! I then expected this to be a real tear-jerker for the rest of the novel. In part 3 however the book completely alters, as they head out to the country look
...more
Tuugii Tuugs
Dec 20, 2014 Tuugii Tuugs rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
1800аад оны сүүл үед бичигдсэн хэрнээ өнөөгийн Монголчуудын амьдралтай төстэй санагдсан, бүр хөдөө хотын амьдрал гэж ирээд л... 2р бүлгийн дунд хэсгээс эхлээд их нуршуу, нэг санаагаа дахин дахин давтаж, орчуулгын хувьд бүр нэг өгүүлбэрийг гурван удаа давтсан боловсч, дүрүүдын зан байдлыг их тод дүрсэлсэн. Эмэгтэй хүний нарийн ухаан, эдийн засаг, нийгмийн талаар олон зүйл бодогдуулсан сайхан бүтээл байна.
Kiki Unhinged
Feb 09, 2014 Kiki Unhinged rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I can't believe I tortured myself through 500 and some odd pages! Boring and sappy. How I hate wasting this much investment in a story thinking surely it'll get better but it just gets worse. I stuck with it because the time period's union strife might've been educational but it wasn't other than some realism regarding the brutality, and I thought it'd be fun to read about the SF Bay area back then, but even that lacked in depth. Nothing but a cheesy, too drawn out story about two naive married ...more
Kelly
Dec 03, 2013 Kelly rated it it was ok
I can't believe I tortured myself through 500 and some odd pages! Boring and sappy. How I hate wasting this much investment in a story thinking surely it'll get better but it just gets worse. I stuck with it because the time period's union strife might've been educational but it wasn't other than some realism regarding the brutality, and I thought it'd be fun to read about the SF Bay area back then, but even that lacked in depth. Nothing but a cheesy, too drawn out story about two naive married ...more
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
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