The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

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You know the old addage, if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all? That is why I’ve been hesitant to post a review of this book. Not that I refrain from saying bad things, oh heavens no! I do not hesitate to go off on someone, especially if they have done me wrong, but I don’t really just sit around talking smack about innocent people. So, anyway, I kind of hesitate to post negative reviews about books or recipes, but hey, to each his own, and what doesn’t appeal to me, may sound fabulous to you, right?

I’ve read Alice Sebold’s two previous books: The Lovely Bones and Lucky: A Memoir and enjoyed both of them, so I was feeling pretty positive about The Almost Moon. But I have to say there was nothing positive about this book. I almost stopped reading it twice. I really, really, really hated the main character. Isn’t that odd? I mean, I read murder mysteries with simply ghastly main characters, and I still enjoy the book. Maybe it’s because I don’t know any murderers, but I know several people who are like this main character.

I’m not going to tell you the “big event” of the book, though if you read inside the dust jacket, you can pretty much sort it out. Here is the Amazon blurb:

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 way she never could have imagined. Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate. It is a challenging, moving, gripping story, written with the fluidity and strength of voice that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page.

So, yeah, something awful happens between the mother and the daughter, and the daughter is the one telling the story. Now, I don’t know what Ms. Sebold wanted me to feel about these characters, but I ended up hating the daughter and feeling terribly sorry for the mother. The daughter is whiny, complaining, and totally self-centered. I found myself yelling at this character to just shut-up and grow up. Really, I just wanted to smack her.

I give this ** out of ***** stars (only I don’t know how to make real stars, like some people use on their blogs). If you know how, please leave me a comment and I will be your best friend forever.

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  1. says

    I’m sorry to hear this! The Lovely Bones was one of the best books I’ve read….it haunted me when I was reading it. I was looking forward to her latest one.

  2. says

    I loved “The Lovely Bones” and I’ve been looking everywhere for my copy for a while now. I think my mother has it somewhere, but I’ve searched high and wide in her house to.

    I may have to read this book, just to see how bad it is. Does that make me a masochist? I think it does a little bit. *sigh*

    I can’t make stars either.

    bright blessings.

  3. says

    I had mixed feelings about “The Lovely Bones.” I started “Lucky” but didn’t finish it — not sure why. I guess I won’t go out of my way to read this latest book but if my book club chooses it, I’ll give it a try.

    Note: I sure hope you get an answer about the star thingy.

  4. says

    So, you’re not recommending that this be made into a movie? hehe Isn’t disappointing when a book just doesn’t thrill you? I usually finish them anyway, but with low enthusiasm. Hope your next read is a much more enjoyable!

  5. says

    I have not been able to finish The Lovely Bones, I’ve tried twice. I cannot seem to read these kinds of books anymore. To compliment the writer, it is too real and I identify with the main character too much and do not have the room in my life for the emotions this books brings out… really, with the boys, there is enough on my plate. I can’t read Stephen King anymore for the same reason.

  6. says

    Like you I really enjoyed her previous two books but I have not heard anything positive about The Almost Moon so I decided to steer clear of it. Now after reading your review I know I made the right choice. Love your honesty!!

  7. says

    I do enjoy a good book review. I wouldn’t have known the author if you hadn’t mentioned The Lovely Bones. (My daughter read this, and gave it to me after)
    It is disappointing when you like one book from an author and not another. I am going through that right now with The Water Method Man. I love everything John Irving has written, especially A Prayer for Owen Meany, but this Water Method Man is getting on my nerves.

  8. says

    Oh gee, I just logged back in and re-read my comment. I meant to say, “Isn’t it disappointing …” Ugh, I despise when I make typo’s like that. Sorry!

  9. Anonymous says

    Found this on the web. You could try it.

    & #9733; = ★

    & #9734; = ☆

    The codes won’t process on Myspace though, so just copy paste the symbol itself.

    I’m just now learning HTML, so forgive me if it doesn’t work!

    Angie’s sister

  10. says

    I felt that “The Lovely Bones” was so different, told from an all knowing dead character, that I was interested. Other than that I have been unimpressed with Sebold.

  11. says

    I was really disappointed with ‘The Almost Moon’ too. I really loved ‘The Lovely Bones’ and will be very interested to see the film version (I think it’s currently being made by Peter Jackson). Even marking hundreds of student essays on the novel hasn’t put me off it – and that’s saying something!

  12. Anonymous says

    I read this book just because it had such angry reviews. If it makes you angry, she has acomplished something, she made you feel. This book is about mental illness and the effect on the family. If you have dealt with that as a family you will identify even if you would never have down what Helen does. Books are not jsut here to make us happy, give us happy endings. they are to make us think and feel and wonder.

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