Myth's Reviews > The Almost Moon

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
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Aug 06, 10

Read in July, 2009

I read Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" and picked this up, because I haven't seen another book out by her in a while. I was already aware of Sebold's slightly morbid and blunt style.

Her style is not one of my favorites. I like getting to the point, but I feel like Sebold goes the extra mile. It's like she writes about unpleasant topics and magnifies the experience as a deformed after thought of description. I do have to appriciate the bluntness and usual clarity.

While reading this book, I didn't find it fun or pleasant. I didn't like it in that sense, but I also didn't think Sebold aimed for likability. Sometimes it felt a little dragged, other times it was just disgusting. I know Sebold doesn't write thinking whether or not people will find what she writes disgusting. According to her own interview she has a natural curiosity to the dark side of things.

The Almost Moon is a plot wrapped in Sebold's style. The plot itself is familiar to me. The mother-child verses daughter-servant, the sad and impairing relationship. There are two other works that strike in the category of this unfortunate social mix up. One was actually an online flash game. A puzzle game in which the characters were blocks, but the story was along the same lines of a daughter having issues with her mother. Her mother dies accidentally and the game is about saving the daughter.

This is a weird commentary to put in, when reviewing Almost Moon, but that game freaked me out more than any "off", morbid book. It wasn't bloody and it was hardly demented. It was something about the disconnected game world, the puzzles and simplicity made it stick out as the most haunting media I've encountered with a similar theme to Almost Moon.

The Almost Moon might be too crude for me. It can easily be read by people who won't read into meanings and symbols. I had trouble imagining it as a type of literary fiction. The end was slightly disappointing to me. It was kind of a just ending for the character, but I really hated the main character. I have to admit I do like the last sentences. I find that many authors can't end on a note I like.

Overall, it was an Okay read. I do appriciate the authenticity behind the book and that Sebold will "go there". It's easy to follow, though sometimes I think Sebold invents words. I especially appreciated the fact that Sebold could so flawlessly write a flash back into the rest of the text.

As far as the plot and main character, not my favorite. It's entertainment and morbid, but is there a point? It's merely a reflection, with no call to the reader for action or thinking. In this way I found the whole book very selfish and displaced from others of literature who are trying to accomplish something. This became especially obvious to me after reading an interview involving an author writing in order to educate and then reading Sebold's interview at the end of The Almost Moon. I can't really consider Sebold's work on the same level. It's somewhat a moot point, because among my favorite books are fictional reflections. If I don't like the plot or the main character it won't be a favorite.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Dree I think this is the best review I have read of this book--you did a good job getting at things I couldn't quite explain in my review. I read The Lovely Bones and can't even remember it now. But I think (and I think I might be the only one--w/the possible exception of you!) she was working toward something worthwhile, I'm just not quite sure what. It's an interesting idea (emotionally abused adult daughter kills mentally ill and seriously declining elderly mother)--but I was confused about if Helen was meant to be mentally ill herself? (Or is she just by killing her mother? Though it wasn't planned...). I don't mind hating the protagonist, and I am not a big fan of feel-good novels (Firefly Lane made me want to scream even though I was bawling).

Anyway, good job on the review.

Myth Thank you for commenting. I'm also not a fan of feel good novels, but Sebold kind of takes the drastic opposite route. I find that her books kind of leave me confused in an emotional sense, if not blindsided.

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