Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: The Almost Moon

Title:  The Almost Moon
Author:  Alice Sebold
Publication Year:  2007

Description from

A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this brilliant, powerful, and unforgettable new novel by the author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky.

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.

I Gave It:  3 Stars

This is how the book opens.  “When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”  I had to read the line twice to make sure I didn’t miss an important word that would negate this sentence.  And then, of course, I had to read on to be sure that what I had read was literally what had happened.  It was. 

(That’s not really a spoiler because you’d learn this even if you picked up a copy and browsed through the first page in a book store). 

Over the next 24 hours, Helen Knightly does some strange and incredible things that can only be explained by the stories of her heartbreaking childhood that unfold throughout the chapters.  We learn that even the people closest to her – her ex-husband Jake and best friend, Natalie – could never have known this completely shattered part of Helen that she is no longer able to keep under wraps.

Despite the subject matter, it’s not a heart-pounding thriller or an edge-of-your-seat suspense novel.  It’s more of a sad exploration of someone’s deeply hurt psychology and I felt predominantly disturbed and then incredibly sorry for Helen’s choices. 

It wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that I realized I had no idea what Helen was going to choose to do next and it’s literally not until the last couple pages that we become aware of her next step.  The last part of the book intrigued me the most.  The rest of it was well-written; I was always happy to pick up where I left off but didn’t feel compelled to learn more. 

I recommend this book to anyone who likes off-beat stories.  It’s definitely not a typical plot! 


  1. I have a soft spot for broken characters so this sound compelling to me.

    PS I friended you on Goodreads.

  2. Sounds compelling.

    Forgive my typo.

  3. Hi Tina! Thanks for friending me on Goodreads. As you can see, my Goodreads friends circle is quite...triangular. LOL! Thanks for your comment here, too. I would love to hear what you think of this book or any of the others I have reviewed.

    Have a great day!