The Almost Moon
16 journalers for this copy...
The characters were well thought out and the story well planned. Be warned the first few chapters arev quite harrowing but after that it gets to easier reading.
Inver (eu postage)
midlifecrisis (eu only)
bestfriends. (belgium, post europe)
okyrhoe (in Athens, post INTL
BigBird2002. (usa only) (skipped)
ladybug74 (us, post us) (on its way here)
acountkel (us, will post usa or canada pref)
lauraloo29.(canada, anywhere but canada)---its on its way here---
15/3/08 About half way through.
17/3/08 - posting to 'midlifecrisis' on next step of its journey.
Good timing. I just finished reading another (ray) book yesterday. Although I already started something else, I can still put that one on hold, now that this arrived.
I liked "Lovely Bones" and "Lucky", so I'm looking forward to it. Up next.
It's not an enjoyable read, which makes it all the more remarkable that Alice Sebold had the nerve to unfold this dark story and present characters, that are not very likable. I find it very courageous of her that, obviously, she did not have in mind to "please" her audience and write another bestseller after the succes of her debut novel "The Lovely Bones". Life is not always warm and happy. She has the nerve to reveal the darker sites of human beings. I was impressed!
Thanks for sharing! I will send it to the next on the list as soon as I have an address.
April 4: Sent to Athens. Enjoy.
Note: I will be on vacation end April-beginning May (for the 3rd Greek BookCrossing Convention "The Mazoksi") so my reading will be slowing down a bit. Hope it's o.k.
Although the plot lines of these books dont' have anything in common, they share the same narrative time frame: The events and thought processes of the characters within the duration of a single day. (Incidentally both novels also refer directly or indirectly to Virginia Woolf.) But the prose style of the two couldn’t be more dissimilar, and in retrospect I can’t help admiring Cusk’s rich and textured writing all the more now.
Granted, Sebold is writing in the first person, and that by definition is limiting, in that it is Helen who is speaking to us. But this is exactly what makes the novel unconvincing.
Helen’s narration is so controlled, rational and orderly that there is no way the reader can mistake her for a truly troubled or deranged person. Rather than being overcome by the extraordinary events of those 24hours, Helen seems more concerned about making everything crystal clear to the reader. There is no narrative agitation, no confusion, no contradiction, and therefore no‘detective work’ for the reader to perform.
A case in point: When Helen is sitting for the drawing class, she says, "Now I felt the menacing bones of this rabbit behind me..." But the reader doesn’t sense any real paranoia on Helen’s part, as she has just previously explained in detail what exactly this rabbit is, where it came from, when it happened, etc.
Also, in the last moments of the day, when Helen’s mind is flitting between images of serial killers, and thoughts of artists/writers made famous by their dramatic suicides, she still has the presence of mind to give us a description of the variations in the landscape as she drives from Natalie’s/Hamish’s house to her mother’s neighborhood. This passage in Chapter 15, especially the focused description of one resident’s cinderblock wall is the most problematic moment of all in Sebold’s novel. Here Helen is no longer the agent in her own unfolding story; she is the voice reciting the narrative, and her tone becomes philosophical: "I had begun to think of him as a homunculus who contained within him all the fears of modern man. There were no pictures of him because he looked like all of us. His fear made him into a phantom who changed shape behind his walls..."
Sebold is getting carried away here; it’s no longer Helen who is speaking to us. The cinderblock wall in this urban landscape assumes a literary significance similar to that of the emblematic billboard "eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg" in The Great Gatsby. This wall stands for Helen’s clothes as she disrobes for the art class, for her father’s plywood figurines, for her mother’s towels & blankets that were used to shield her as she ventured out of the house, and of course the prison walls Helen is running away from. It’s a nice literary flourish on Sebold’s part, wrapping up all the themes and images into a single metaphor, but thoroughly unconvincing if we are to take Helen’s frame of mind for what it is supposed to be at that particular moment.
The Almost Moon also begs a comparison with Elfriede Jelinek’s The Piano Teacher: The plot line (female protagonist obsessed with her mother & also with art, seduces a young man) as well as theme (critique of contemporary family structures & culture).
I thought it was horrible that the main character killed her mother, despite everything that she had put her through. I found myself wanting her to get away with it, though I can't imagine how someone could do something like that. Then there was the whole situation with her best friend's son---very strange. When she said that she was waiting to see who in the family would inherit the mental illness, I was thinking that she did.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Mailed to the next bookring participant, accountkel
This looks bery interesting...
Will read soon!
Thank you for including me!
This book is about and told through the voice of Helen. Helen grew up with a mentally ill mother and a father who turned out to be almost as ill. Helen kills her 86 year old mother and the book follows Helen through the events that occur after the crime, as well as, Helen's thoughts of her past.
There is a small section of the book that gives the reader an idea of what it was like for Helen to be a daughter of a mother like hers and how the title of the book relates to the story. “The moon is whole all the time, but we can’t always see it. What we see is an almost moon or a non-quite moon. The rest is hiding just out of view, but there’s only one moon, so we follow it in the sky. We plan our lives based on its rhythms and tides.” “I knew I was supposed to understand something from my father’s explanation, but what I came away with was that, just as we were stuck with the moon, so too we were stuck with my mother.”
There are some great journal entries for this book.
I have lauraloo's address, will send on this weekend.
Thank you katrina for including me.
This is a book I will never forget.
Mental illness is certainly a difficult topic. Interesting on how it affects people. As someone who has her own issues, it was a read I wanted to finish. Not sure if I got it though.
I too found the Hamish thing unrealistic.
I will send this out on another ray.
Rules: Not many. Please journal the book's arrival and departure. And please keep it moving by keeping it no longer than 4 weeks. The last person is free to release the book as they wish.
1. AceofHearts - Canada (Intl)
2. raeliz64 - UK (Intl)
3. Brujula - France (Intl)
4. easterngirl71 - US (US)
5. dvg - US (NA)
6. Dreamer-kitty - Canada (NA)
7. spoiledrotten - US (US)
8. Rrrcaron - US (Intl)
9. Mallary - France (Europe) - asked to be skipped
10. Lizzy-stardust - UK - asked to be skipped
Beginning its journey August 26th. Happy travels!
Helen is far too controlled. The events that follow are really not believable. The book is written in the first person but it is too literary for that and the fact that Helen is trying to come to terms with what she has done. Sebold does develop the characters very well. The relationship between Helen and her parents and their relationship is very complex and the reader is pulled in. I have loved Sebold's previous two books but didn't like this one much.
Completely different from the lonely bones, but more mature. A good novel.
Thank you for sharing!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
mailed to the following reader, back across the Atlantic!
(I have PM'd Dreamer-kitty for mailing addy.)
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
MY COMMENTS: I stayed awake last night until 2am because I just had to finish this book! The characters of this novel grabbed me from page one. The story that revealed itself of this dysfunctional family pulled at my heart. I had such compassion for Helen. She grew up in a family with mentally ill parents which I’m sure was very demanding on a child, especially when one is left to defend a family members lack of action. As Helen grew up and came to realize her family dysfunction, the failure of her own marriage, she is left to care for her mother. In the rational act of caring, she has a moment of irrational behavior that will change the life of her and those around her when she shares this information. During the brief time of contemplation, she encounters Hamish and continues that moment of irrationality or perhaps it is just a moment of escape?
I applaud Alice Sebold in writing such a complex novel of human emotions and capturing all of them so expertly. Whether you are left loving or hating this novel, you must acknowledge the author’s amazing writing style.
I loved it. I recommend it highly. (I have to admit I shed a couple of tears.)
Sorry guys i've been soo busy I haven't had much time to read. I have finally managed to finish the book and have msgd spoiledrotten for shipping info. Sorry agian for holding this up.
mailed to spoiledrotten. should be there in 10 business days.
Sent off today to Rrrcaron so that it may continue on its journey.