Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

This book was morose. Morbid, even. I loved it.

The main character, Helen Knightly, kills her elderly, mentally ill mother, Clair. That's not giving anything away - it's stated in the first sentence. I would like to say that with this act of - what? mercy? - she puts them both, mother and daughter, out of their misery, but Helen's misery continues as, over the next twenty-four hours, Helen recounts a life devoted to protecting and catering to a woman who she feels never really loved her and fumbles over what to do after what she has done.

Everyone surrounding Helen agrees that she sacrificed herself to her mother, and when Helen commits the one, profoundly simple act that might end that sacrifice, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to help Helen weave her way out of the reprecussions.

The plot was moved along by a narrative that went back and forth between Helen's memoir of her mother and the fallout after she kills her. The characters and dialogue were realistic. This was a deep, thoughtful account of family, responsibility and human fraility - an excellent read. - 5 stars


hamilcar barca said...

i think you should talk the book club at your local library into making this their next collective reading project. :-)

Serena said...

I found Helen tough to take at times. I enjoyed this novel, but I thought that it should have ended kind of dragged nearing the end of the novel. Another great review.