Alison's Reviews > The Almost Moon

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
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Jan 03, 08

Recommended for: noone
Read in January, 2008

I picked up "Almost Moon" because I am a Sebold fan. Like most of the reviews I have read, I loved "Lucky" and "The Lovely Bones". In both of these books there was the beautiful and inspiring as well as the ugly and devastating. Almost Moon is a whole other thing. It contains only the ugly and devastating.

The subject of this book is Helen, who quickly suffocates her mother in the first chapter, and takes the rest of the book to explain her actions, never becomes sympathetic. Instead, It only becomes more and more apparent exactly how dangerously narcissistic and psychotic she is. Yes, her mom was nuts and her dad committed suicide. And yes, she tried a short stint at therapy only to stop for the most superficial reason - she didn't like the sculptures in her therapist's office. And throughout the book we learn about morally questionable things Helen has done in the past as well as watch her commit even more crimes against humanity. And never does she seem to self-reflect - gee, that was wrong. God, I really hurt people when I did that. Instead, she is full of excuses and paper thin explanations. So I read this book in entirety with an ill feeling in my stomach. Never have I less enjoyed a read. There was nothing in this book to raise me out of the murk of this woman's soul depleted life.

However, I have to say I disagree with the NYT reviews. I do find Helen to be a believable character. And I do find her narcissism and hollow but addictive love of her insane mother also believable. I do find how their is little to redeem Helen in our eyes believable. This is insanity. Insanity has its own rules. And Sebold takes us into this quite unpoetic mindset. It's a revolting read, but not without truths.

In summary, I would never recommend this book to anyone. I don't mind reading a dark book once in a while but I still want my reward. Some nugget of beauty and transcendence. There book offers nothing in the way of that. This book is certainly well written and an accurate portrayal of a family gone bonkers but I want more from a book. But I guess I am just a romantic.
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