“The Almost Moon” is the second book I have read by Alice Sebold. I read “The Lovely Bones” a few years ago, and truthfully I wasn’t that impressed by the book. I thought it was interesting, but a little boring and had a very unsatisfying ending. I suppose that gives it a bit more of a feel of how real life missing person cases end, but I was hoping for a little more vibrant story telling. In my copy of “The Lovely Bones” however, there was an excerpt for “The Almost Moon”. The first line in this book really grabbed my attention, the whole first chapter did really. “When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily”. That first line got me very interested in this novel and I knew I had to find it to read it.
Well, now I have read it and I did like it more than I liked “The Lovely Bones”, but it still wasn’t really my taste of story telling. The writing style to me was a little dry, but the overall story is what kept me interested. The story follows Helen, the daughter of an elderly woman with dementia, as she kills her mother and what happens after. Throughout the book, we learn about Helen’s childhood and how her mother treated her and the rest of the family. It highlights the sad and true effects of aging and diseases such as dementia. The reader learns more and more about Helen’s present day life as well. We meet her good friend Natalie and find out they both work as nude models for the nearby university’s art classes, Helen’s ex-husband and their daughters, and other various characters.
Helen keeps the secret of killing her mother to herself for the most part, but she does tell her ex-husband almost right away. He proceeds to talk her through what she should and shouldn’t do if she wants it to look like her mother died on accident.
The story flips back and forth between Helen’s present life and childhood frequently, and we find out that her mother was a model at one time. It also becomes clear her mother’s mental state was deteriorating during Helen’s childhood. There was also a time when Helen was young that her mother was a witness to a terrible car accident involving a young boy and she ended up being hated by the town, which only made things worse for the family.
As the story goes on, the reader sees Helen make bad decision after bad decision. The book made me feel frustrated and sad but it did keep my interest, I had to find out what was going to happen to Helen and her family. I did enjoy this book overall, I thought it was a very unique story. It also portrayed family life and how every family has their struggles. It shows the reality of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and how those diseases truly take a toll on everyone involved. It also showcases how mental illness can change a loved one and how it affects their family and those closest to them. It’s an impressive read with a fascinating story.