Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Released: 2007

The first sentence of Alice Sebold's The Almost Moon is enough to grip readers from the very beginning, "When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily". Almost immediately, we are struck with knowing that this book is going to be a very dark and insanely compelling read!

The Almost Moon is the story of nude model Helen Knightly's upbringing; as well as what Helen does within a 24-hour period after she kills her eighty-eight year old mentally ill and agoraphobic mother Clair. The novel jumps back and forth between past and present, and we learn along the way why Helen is compelled to kill her mom.

While the flashbacks of time are pertinent to the story, the novel becomes a page-turner because we are dying to know what happens in the present and how Helen deals with herself. Another interesting entity is that as the book goes on, I see Helen as a victim and NOT as a guilty murderer! I root for Helen throughout the book and hope that her outcome is positive and that she finds a way out of this. After all, one wouldn't think it would be so difficult to stage the death of an elderly, ailing woman.

The ending of The Almost Moon is unpredictable, and there is really no way we can figure out ahead of time what really happens. A statement is made early on in the book about how one of Helen's mother's neighbors named Mrs. Leverton competes with Clair regarding who will outlive the other. This revelation does play into the outcome of the novel.

Overall I think this book is miraculous because of its easy style and how readable it is. The book was so interesting and engaging that it took me a few hours to read all the way through in one day. The Lovely Bones is also a fantastic novel, and I think Alice Sebold's future novels will always be considered mandatory reading for me.

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