Doreen's Reviews > Moonlight in Odessa: A Novel

Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles
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Oct 05, 10

bookshelves: first-reads
Read from October 01 to 05, 2010

I'm not sure what I expected going into this book. Certainly something fluffier, and nothing near what the back cover blurb promised. Instead, I was happily surprised to find that Ms Charles, to quote Booklist, truly "explores the dichotomy between Eastern and Western cultures, as well as the assumptions and sacrifices people make in the hope of a better life." Daria is a well-thought-out, well-fleshed character, and it's hard not to read this book almost as an autobiography (which it's clearly not, thank goodness: Mary Sues are very unsympathetic, and Daria is not one of those author stand-ins.) While the narrative does lose a little of its coherence in the third part of the book, it's understandable given Daria's own mental condition (and I'll admit, I screamed in outrage when she began burning the bills.) Things also happen with Argonaut in San Francisco that are a little too pat to be entirely believable, but aren't entirely out of the realm of possibility. I was very satisfied, though, with the ending, and am glad that Ms Charles didn't feel the need to give Daria the conventional romance-novel conclusion.

To be honest, I really wanted to give this book four and a half stars, but her description of the interior life of the recent immigrant was so nuanced and perfect that I felt it would be robbery to give it only four.

I received this book gratis as part of Goodreads' FirstReads program.
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Reading Progress

10/01/2010 page 113
32.0% "Picked this up because the Shaw was too heavy for my commute. Am now hooked."

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