A good book has no ending. ~ R.D. Cumming

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Almost Moon

The Almost Moon: A Novel (Hardcover)The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Helen had never decided to kill her mother. It wasn't something she had set out intending to do, yet following a recent visit to her mother's house, that is exactly what she ended up doing. Through flashbacks, Helen recalls her childhood and what events brought her to this moment, to what she has just done. Having been reared by two parents who were mentally unstable, Helen isn't sure what to feel - she doesn't feel guilt, but she also doesn't feel satisfaction or relief. With the help of her ex-husband, Jake, Helen must now figure out a way to cover up what she has done and decide what she is to do now.

I'm still not quite sure what to think about this novel. I enjoyed the way it was written - jumping between past and present, allowing the author to introduce small pieces of information at a time, encouraging the reader to fit the pieces together creating the larger picture of Helen's past. I'm not keen on the way the story ended, but I will leave my comment at that, as I don't want to give anything away. This was a darker novel, and you really can't help but feel for the main character despite that she murders her mother. Helen had to face not one, but two parents who were not mentally stable and the humiliation that came with it. Having read Jodi Picoult's Mercy, this novel touches also on the topic of "mercy killing", but in a very different light - I'm not even sure that you could count them as one in the same. Helen feels that she has done her mother a favor, but really it seems it was a selfish thing to do; Helen had become responsible for caring for her aging mother who was slowly sliding towards dimentia and it seemed as though it had just become too much for Helen to deal with.

I'm not sure that I would recommend this novel. Given that I had really enjoyed The Lovely Bones which is also by Alice Sebold, I would be inclined to recommend that novel instead. I think The Almost Moon is a novel that the reader needs to decide to read for themselves, as I'm sure it would vary from individual to individual whether or not it was enjoyable to read (which is generally the case with any novel). I don't feel that this novel is suitable for younger readers due to content (the murder, etc).

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