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The Almost Moon

2.70  ·  Rating details ·  35,629 ratings  ·  5,684 reviews
A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this brilliant, powerful, and unforgettable new novel by the author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky.

For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 2.70  · 
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 ·  35,629 ratings  ·  5,684 reviews

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Jan 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: jumped-ship
I wanted to believe that the backlash against this book could be explained by general disappointment about Sebold's second novel not living up to The Lovely Bones. Um, yeah. Not only did it not measure up, but I don't even want this book in the same ROOM with my other books. It really and truly is that bad. I tried, people. I tried. But when I spent 4 hours on a plane learning how to do Sodoku just so I wouldn't have to read one more heinous word of this novel, I knew that I was going to have to ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I should preface this by saying that I have never read a book with an accumulative star rating this low before. It also confirms that star ratings are ridiculous - or maybe that one star ratings are compliments in disguise.

Can someone explain to me why a story has to have likable characters? Why someone who is clearly loosing it should act in a way a sane reader finds believable? I'm pretty sure when I read Fight Club I didn't think I would act that way... but she's a woman, so she has to be in
Jan 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Horrible, horrible, horrible. Bad in every way: terrible sentences, dreadful unbelievable characters, boring story. Includes this line, "This was not the first time I had been face-to-face with my mother's genitalia." Her genitalia has a FACE!!!! Downhill from there. ...more
Apr 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hated
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down so I read it in two days. What I especially liked about the book was how the author used stream of consciousness thinking (flash backs)to explain the thoughts and actions of the main character during a 24 hour period just before and after she kills her demented mother. Also, as unreal as the events seem in the this story, they stem from the main character (who grew up in a disturbed family) making some minor poor choices under stress, then making a major poor choice ...more
Dec 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any Fiction Lover
When I read The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold’s bestselling first novel, I thought, now what? What does an author write after that? How could she possibly top this novel?

Three short years later Alice follows with a realistic, maybe too real, new novel, The Almost Moon, that promises to ease its way up the bestseller list in a short time. In what seems to be Ms. Sebold’s tradition, The Almost Moon is a dark tale, not a cozy quick read. This story voices some of the worst emotions and fears one coul
Jason Pettus
(My full review of this book is much longer than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

I freely admit it; that as a man, there are sometimes things that women do that utterly baffle me, and will probably continue to baffle me until the day I freaking die, just like it is with women regarding men. And that's because, avoiding any kind of qualitative judgment, I think we can all agree that there are fundamen
Nov 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
I made it to around 60 pages before I chucked it across the room. Horrible horrible horrible all over the place, pathetic writing with sad, unlikeable characters.
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Mar 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
Before I start this, let me just say that Alice Sebold’s writing style is not the problem. This is a definite example of how good writing does not always equal a good novel. The writing was compelling enough that I did not DNF this book. But, in my opinion, the plot itself was absurd. I am shocked that this is from the same author who wrote The Lovely Bones. I’ve never read TLB, but I’ve known many people who have cited it as a great book, or even their favorite book. This book feels like it cam ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was extremely disturbing. The main character is introduced as seemly a normal woman whose elderly mother is entering her final years and at the stage of facing a nursing home or care facility. Even after she kills her mother, she tells the story as if this is just sort of a bummer day, almost, "Oh my gosh, I killed my mother. I don't want to be late for work." Ironically, I was even lulled into moments where I was not completely horrified at what just happened--and continues to happen ...more
Oct 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This was just not worth the effort it took to get through it, at all. I could have gotten over the main character murdering her mother (which is within the first sentence, so don't panic about being spoiled) if she weren't so unpleasant in every other respect. First she murders her mother, and then she goes on to do other things that are just as cringe-worthy.

I also could have gotten past how horrible a person Helen was...if they novel had any kind of point at all. I kept reading in hopes that i
J. Kent Messum
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this novel, though not as much as Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones'. I didn't think it was stellar, but I thought it was solid. A lot of people took a massive shit on this book because they disliked Helen's character so much... but you know what? There are lots of ugly characters in the world, and they are far more believable than the fictional heroes and heroines we blindly champion because they offer us no incentive to wake up and smell the coffee.

I like REAL characters, offensive or othe
Feb 15, 2008 rated it liked it
THE ALMOST MOON is a brave book by a courageous writer. After the phenomenal success of THE LOVELY BONES, Alice Sebold could have chosen to write a sophomore novel in which she once again gave readers a sympathetic, utterly likable narrator like Susie Salmon. Instead, she writes through the voice of Helen Knightly, and Helen tells the reader, right from the beginning, that liking her is going to be a challenge:

When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily. Dementia, as it descends, ha
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sebold has a gift for poetic tone and thoughtful metaphor. I love how you're just toodling along, reading away, and suddenly, BAM! she hits you with something like: "She looked up at me and smiled. 'Bitch,' she said. The thing about dementia is that sometimes you feel like the afflicted person has a trip wire to the truth, as if they can see beneath the skin you hide in."
Or: "I got her standing with ease, but once she was upright, she collapsed in my arms. It was all I could do not to drop her,
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by Title and Cover
Seems like a lot of people hated this book… I'm not one of them. There’s mental illness in my family so I appreciated the author giving a voice to how the day-to-day living with someone with a mental disorder impacts every person they touch. Wickedly funny and really well written, Sebold has a great lyrical style, paints her characters so real they breathe; I empathized. Admittedly the author leaves a lot of loose ends but I didn’t have a problem with that, enjoy a story that isn’t all tied up i ...more
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

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Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I am very troubled by this book. First, I found it so unnerving that someone could write about killing their mother. What kind of person does that? Well, I googled on Alice Sebold to find out and discovered that Ms. Sebold was brutally raped while attending college at Syracuse University. I believe that this brutal act of violence may be the catalyst that has caused Ms. Sebold to teeter on a violent edge that few authors dare to go. This book is about and told through the voice of Helen. Helen g ...more
Gary Guinn
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”
How’s that for an opening line? Helen’s mother needed killing, and Helen was just the person to do it. Except she wasn’t.
Sebold’s second novel, The Almost Moon, is the story of fifty-two-year-old Helen, whose father committed suicide when she was a teenager, and her spontaneous act of mercy/revenge on her eighty-year-old mother and the chaos that follows. Helen’s ex-husband, her two adult daughters, her best friend since childhood, and
Nov 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
In 2003, my brother bought me Alice Sebold's first novel, The Lovely Bones, for Christmas. I was into it from the first page, and I couldn't help crying my eyes out. Later, I read her memoir, Lucky. I didn't think it was quite as well done, but it was about a very powerful topic, and it gave me some respect for where Sebold had come from and how much she had overcome. So, I eagerly anticipated getting this one from the long library waiting list. The Almost Moon tackles the difficult subject of ...more
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED: The Lovely Bones, and although several people told me that this book was totally bizarre, I had to read it and judge for myself.

Once I began Almost Moon, I could not put it down. I could understand how a 49 year old woman, a product of a dysfunctional, mentally ill family, could snap under extreme pressure and murder her elderly mother who suffered from dementia. This dark, serious novel, made me smile on more than one occasion by the author's use of clever writing techniques. I loved t
Oct 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Have a healthy relationship with your parents? Then you probably won't relate to Helen, the protagonist who confesses to killing her mother in the first sentence of the novel. Alice Sebold doesn't expect you to understand what Helen has done-- even Helen doesn't quite understand it fully. Effort and compassion is needed just to start understanding the complexities of this mother-daughter relationship, and Sebold does a beautiful job exploring that aspect of an act that society condemns in a knee ...more
Dec 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Not because the writing is poor -- in fact, just the opposite. Sebold is such a talented writer that what she's done with this book is nothing short of a travesty.

Am I supposed to feel sorry for Helen, the daughter of a mentally ill mother she ends up killing in her old age? There isn't enough hurt and anguish in her for me to believe she did so out of long-simmering rage. Am I supposed to feel outraged at the brutality of the act? Clair i
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
Let me start off by saying that I love Alice Sebold. 'Lucky' and 'Lovely Bones' were two books that stayed with me long after I finished them.

That being said, I hate to say that 'Almost Moon' was such a disappointment to me. I had read all the bad reviews of it and thought 'It can't be that bad.' Unfortunately, it was.

Was it because the story was about an unsympathetic narrator who kills her aged mother in the first chapter? Perhaps.

The rest of the story unfolds as Helen both revisits memories
Sherree W
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So, this is the only book that I have felt a duty to review.

People who are uncomfortable with the many topics broached (topics that don't make for polite conversation) may feel that this book goes too far...

I live with an Alzheimer's patient. She is turning 90 in July. She is my mother.

Luckily, thus far she is not too much like the mother in this book, but I was gripped from the first pages. The situation and the thoughts of the protagonist, while hard to take and easy to deride, are slightly
Feb 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
I got to page 100 when I realized I was not going to finish it. I don't know why I lasted that long. It is a very strange book, and the topic (going mad) is better covered elsewhere. At least, that's what I think the topic is. I was constantly confused who was who in the book. Was the narrator talking about a daughter, a sister, or a best friend? Was the man mentioned the father or his son who had the same name? Whatever. I'm looking for something else to read. ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
I always want to REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY like her books, but this one was just "eh." ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Disturbing. Probable yet improbable. Quirky. Curious. Eerie.

As I first started getting into this my initial thought was that this was so absurd that I actually laughed. But when I thought about this premise more closely I realized it's not absurd at all. Just browse past any of the various true crime cable channels or even prime time nightly news stories and it will be affirmed that this story is not only disturbingly probable but could have been lifted or adapted from one of these re-enacte
Cecily Kyle
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cutthroat
I can see why a lot of people do not like this book but I kind of get it. I mean if I had to live like she did, with a mother like that I would be bitter and a bit on the weird side too! I think she is a bit like a "Wednesday Adams" type character. A little dark and misunderstood.
I actually liked the book, more than the rating lead me to believe that I would. I also coincidentally read it on #bellletstalk day for Mental Illness and it was quite fitting.
Decent Read!
Brittany B.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: No one! Especially not your therapist... See below!
Awww! The low rating is so unfair... It's dark fiction about a woman tumbling out of control. It is fiction!! I'm sticking to my first impression. Despite the overwhelming consensus here at GR and prior disagreements with my own friends, I liked this book.

Anyway here's my story about this book--
I read this 4-5 years ago, when I happened to be going through a rough spell. I really liked it. It was dark, but it was not depressing to me. I saw a contrasting humor in parts of the story that seemed r
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold 3 59 Jul 31, 2015 12:22PM  
This author 8 102 May 03, 2014 05:50AM  
Pink Pandas Mond...: Goodreads post 3 1 4 Apr 21, 2014 03:15PM  
Pink Pandas Mond...: Goodreads Submission 1 1 4 Mar 31, 2014 08:44AM  
Read by Theme: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold 8 53 Oct 03, 2012 10:54PM  
The Almost Moon is out in paperback 3 42 Dec 23, 2008 07:40PM  

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Alice Sebold is the author of three #1 bestselling books, including Lucky, and the novels The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon. Her work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian, among other publications. She is a member of the National Leadership Council for (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). She lives in California ...more

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