Adventures in Reading

Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon
October 16, 2007, 10:30 pm
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Around 7a.m. this morning I picked up a copy of Alice Sebold’s new release The Almost Moon, and after an on-and-off reading marathon have finished it. My apologies for any of the roughness in the commentary. Like The Lovely Bones, Sebold’s newest book is based on violence (where a daughter kills her mother) and a dysfunctional family. Once again we have a reoccurring theme of a Hedda Gableresque mother who sacrificed a modeling career (i.e. beauty, fame, desire, etc.) to become a parent (where in LB the mother sacrifices continuing her education) and all too soon betrays that she has no maternal instincts. However, the dysfunction of LB pales in comparison to the mental illness that defines the parents in her most recent story.

If you are expecting a second LB this is not it, though I am not as quick to write off the novel as Publisher’s Weekly is. This second novel in some ways is more sloppy than the first. In LB we have an immediate family and then an extended network of friends and family. While in my early review I commented on an excess of characters I retracted this after rereading the novel. However, I cannot say the same for AM that follows a similar structure of family circle and friends. One aspect PW quickly grasped onto was the character Hamish, a 30-year-old son of a friend that the lead character Helen “fucks.” He seems entirely out of place (as does the friend) and I wonder why he simply was not edited out. Perhaps this non-supernatural novel does display Sebold’s narrative struggle to allow characters to relate in any meaningful ways.

Overall, it was okay, but I am glad I did not purchase it.

Other reappearances: dismemberment, being tucked in by floating sheets, and Pennsylvania.

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