7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Almost Moon (Paperback)
Let me begin by saying how much I adored the Lovely Bones. It's a book I reread every year for the sheer depth of emotion thats conveyed in it's pages, despite the horrific subject matter. Lucky was a novel I read twice - I found it so disturbing that I haven't been able to read it again. I was expecting something dark from Alice Sebold, but to give her her dues, there's usually some form of upliftment or empowerment for the protaganists. Almost Moon starts dark and gets darker.
Women tend to have complicated relationships with their mothers. It's part of the cosmic order. So for me, and my female friends that read this book, it was pretty hard going. Matricide in all its glory is the subject of this particular novel, and as always, Alice confronts you head on with the murder and its consequences.
Helen Knightly spent her life controlling and being controlled and her life unravels when she finally snaps and murders her mother. Given the shocking subject matter, it seems strange that the most disturbing part of the novel for me is the description of her mother's head banging on the stairs as she drags her to the cellar.
The rest of the novel moves back and forward covering Helen's life and choices and showing us just how she came to be where she is today. She's a picture of normality, until something inside her snaps and all the resentment towards her mother comes hurtling out. Helen then makes a series of choices that seems almost bizarre, until you realise that she's acting on every desire she ever suppressed. The pressing sense of inevitability stays with you as you read - I know some readers claiim she is never caught, but for me, she knows she is going to be caught the second she realises her mother dies, and the rest of the novel is her reliving her life before capture.
This is a strange novel to read, not as disturbing as The Lovely Bones, or as horrific as Lucky, but makes for very uncomfortable reading for any woman who has ever resented her mother.