50BC09: Book Number 14


I’m going to spoil this book for you with the very first sentence of the novel:

When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.

And thus begins Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon. Why did I ruin this for you? I didn’t really. That’s like saying that I would ruin Sebold’s first novel, The Lovely Bones, by telling you that it starts with the protagonist being assaulted and murdered. With Sebold, the violence is the catalyst from which the true story ignites and sears itself into your brain and your soul.

I think, however, that many people probably had difficulty with this novel because of the fact that this time the protagonist is not the victim, but the perpetrator. This time we are expected to come to the other side of the coin, accept and possibly even sympathize with the one who has committed this story’s prime crime. It’s a hard sell, indeed.

The prose is gorgeous, as Sebold’s writing tends to be. And I suppose if Sebold’s ultimate goal was simply to present this tale as an open-ended account of the initial act, she has succeeded, especially considering the very open-ended way in which the story ends. I won’t give any more away than I already have. I will simply say that I think Sebold only partially succeeded in this story. It drew me in as quickly and wholly as The Lovely Bones did; however, I felt none of the satisfaction or emotion that I felt upon finishing the former novel.

Final score: 4/5 for prose; 3/5 for story. I don’t think I will be adding this book to my collection, but I’m glad that I didn’t let all the negative reviews sway me from reading it.

Book number 15 has already been selected from the library’s New Arrivals shelf: Captivity by Debbie Lee Wesselmann. I’m not really sure what drew me to this one, but I’m hoping that it will be enjoyable.