Alarra's Reviews > Behind the Moon

Behind the Moon by Hsu-Ming Teo
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May 15, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: aus, contemporaryfiction, gblt
Read in January, 2011

This starts off being a really interesting look at the friendship of three teens from very different backgrounds, dealing with their outsider status. Justin is a good Asian son, but he's hiding the secret that he's gay. Tien, sent away from her mother in Vietnam to live with distant family in Australia, has a crush on Justin and his family. Gibbo, a disappointment to his ocker family, longs to belong to his friends' cultures.

For the first half, the writer does a good job of drawing a picture of middle-class families in the metropolitan west of Sydney in the early 90s, and the frustrations of these three kids as they struggle with being marginalised for various reasons, trying to sound out how to be all things to everyone as they deal with the multitudes of their identities and roles.

Unfortunately, as years pass and the three spiral into increasingly unhappy adult lives, the characters become harder and harder to like, their motivations and actions harder and harder to understand and excuse. The characterisations become shrill parodies of themselves in increasingly melodramatic and unbelievable situations. The abrupt ending is unsatisfying and undeserved.
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