Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Unread: The Almost Moon

I really wanted to like The Almost Moon. The Lovely Bones was fantastic, and Sebold’s rape memoir Lucky was...painful, do you use positive words for a book about something so horrible? As a book, as a memoir, Lucky was an excellent book and something of a revelation because I had not read a book about that particular subject and being told through Sebold’s memories of that time, that experience, and her healing was a powerful reading experience. Let us say that I thought both of Alice Sebold’s two previous books, both fiction and memoir were books I might recommend. In fact, I just recommended The Lovely Bones to a co-worker of mine.

The announcement of the impending publication of The Almost Moon was exciting for me because I wanted to see what else Alice Sebold could do. Then I read the first line months before the book came out:
When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.
Perfect! I HAD to read this book. Such a great first line, such a hook! This is first line that makes the reader want to know more.

It was all downhill from there. I picked up the book from the library on Saturday and eagerly started reading last night. After the first line we got to the point, got through some history. Helen’s mother was 88 years old, suffered from Alzheimer’s, and had been a burden for years. The narration of The Almost Moon alternates between Helen dealing with what she just did and figuring out what to do next with glimpses of family history.

I gave it four chapters, some 30-40 pages. In a fewer than 300 page novel I believe that is a fair chance and while I did not expect an upbeat novel, I expected a novel to suck me in and sweep me up into the story, no matter how brutal or depressing. A Joe Lansdale novel tends towards the bleak and the degrading, but are very readable.

The Almost Moon – not so much.

I really was excited for this book and it had the promise of a great opening line. That opening line was the only thing that delivered. A very disappointing experience and I did not finish the book.

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