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The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
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The Almost Moon (edition 2008)

by Alice Sebold

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Member:alicialevitt
Title:The Almost Moon
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Back Bay Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
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The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
I have to say this is a gorgeously written book, but I didn't warm to any of the characters or indeed the plot. The beginning scenes with Helen's mother after death are really very nasty and I found myself skipping over them in order to get back to some kind of normality. If normality can be found here … I also skipped over some of the rather more difficult scenes later on, though I did get the gist of it all.

When it comes down to it, Helen's family situation is pretty awful and perhaps on occasions rather unbelievable. To the point that, here and there, I found myself almost sympathising with the quite dreadful mother, or at least feeling as if she might have a point. I did like Helen's father, though, and I wished we'd had more of him. All in all, Helen does have a better relationship with the men in her life. The relationship with her ex-husband is also very tenderly depicted, and I liked Jake. I could see why he'd left though, oh yes.

Overall, the first half of the book is perhaps a tad too slow, but it gets more into gear when the police come on the scene, and Helen has to make more and more interesting decisions. Sadly, however, the ending isn't as good as it should have been as the last paragraph is, frankly, ridiculous, and should have been dropped very early on in the editing process. It would have been a far stronger book if it had stopped at that glorious penultimate paragraph.

So, the story is grim and so are the characters. But, still, it's beautifully written.

Verdict: Beautiful but grim. 3 Stars. ( )
  AnneBrooke | Apr 10, 2014 |
This is the second novel by author Alice Sebold, the first being the huge success "The Lovely Bones". This story takes place over 24 hours when the main character mercy-kills her mother, who suffers from dementia and agoraphobia. Things spin wildly out of control at this point. A strange book. I'll give the author another try, but this one did not capture me in a good way. ( )
  PermaSwooned | Apr 6, 2014 |
My wife recently joined a book club. This is one of the books that was on the list. And me, being the curious sort, read it too. After all this science fiction and fantasy, it's nice to see how the other world lives. What do you read on the literary side of the fence?

It turns out you read Lifetime movies. This is the same author who wrote "The Lovely Bones", which apparently was some kind of phenomenon. I should not have started with her sophomore effort. This is a scatter-brained novel. It reminds me of "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall", which is the short story we all had to read in literature class when we learned about modern American literature and stream-of-consciousness -- techniques which are no longer used at all. And there's a reason. It sucks. It's incoherent to read. It's repetitive. And it does not add value to the plot.

The story takes place over 24 hours, as a woman who's just mercy-killed her mother, who was suffering from dementia and agoraphobia and generally became a nutjob who was making everyone's life miserable. Then we follow her around as the makes even more poor life decisions, like having sex with the 30-year-old son of her best friend, calling her ex-husband up from two states away, running away from the cops, lying to them. And interspersed in all these scenes are unreliable glimpses from her past, like her dad hiding in the attic from her mother, her dad committing suicide (or did he?), and scenes that just prove her mom was a douchebag and deserved to die a long time ago. In fact, I don't think the world would be so bad off if a lot of the characters in the book died. Skip this one. ( )
  theWallflower | Feb 24, 2014 |
The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold. Sebold is also the author of "The Lovely Bones", the story of a young girl reminiscing from the afterlife on her rape and murder. Aside from the ending (which I thought contrived and out of character with the rest of the story), I enjoyed that book very much.

"The Almost Moon", no. This was a book I wished I could stop reading because the story and the main character repelled me so much, but kept right on reading anyway, compelled to see how it ended. On the whole, it was like a traffic accident -- I wanted to look away but I couldn't.

The story starts off on the first page with Helen Knightly's announcement that she's just killed her mother. The rest of the story takes place in a single 24-hour period as her day goes steadily downhill, as much from her own foolishness as anything else. The story treats us to the inner workings of Knightly's mind and to her reflections on growing up with a mother who was seriously emotionally unbalanced (agoraphobia was the least of Ma Knightly's problems) when young and is now in old age vicious and incontinent as well as crazy.

In all the disagreeable spectacle of Helen running around like a chicken with her head cut off, the only thing in the whole story that rang true for me was this thought she has toward the end: "Had I killed the only person who, in comparison, made me appear sane?"

Yes. Yes, indeed, that is exactly what she had done. I had bought this book based entirely on my fond memories of "The Lovely Bones"; if I'd read a few reviews first I would have never bothered with it. That's a lesson to me. ( )
  BooksCatsEtc | Jan 6, 2014 |
I picked this book out to complete one of TNBBC summer reading challenge tasks. It was painful to read. I literally forced myself to stay awake so I could finish this god awful book because I dreaded the thought of waking up the next morning with more of this book to read. I'm so glad it's finally over! I wish I could scrape the memory of this story from my brain.

Do you have enemies? Frenemies? Is there someone you would like to disengage from your life but you don't know how? Alice Sebold has created the solution to all your problems! Simply gift them this book and notice with sweet satisfaction as they give you a wide berth from then on.

Never in my life have I disliked a book so much. This saddens me. ( )
  diovival | Oct 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
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Always, Glen
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When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316677469, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"With fierce intelligence and emotional intensity, Alice Sebold brings us a searing portrait of a mother-daughter bond that descends into murder. Clair and Helen Knightly are a parent and child locked in a relationship so unrelenting that they have become the center of each other's worlds. But as this novel opens, Helen crosses a boundary she never thought she would approach. And while her act is almost unconscious, it somehow seems like the fulfillment of a lifetime's unspoken wishes." "Over the next twenty-four hours, Helen's life rushes in at her as she is forced to confront the choices that have brought her to this one riveting crossroad. As a woman who spent years trying to win the love of someone who had none to spare, she now faces an uncertain and dangerous freedom. With her unflinching ability to confront the violence and danger that lurk beneath life's everyday surface, Sebold explores the complex ties within families, the meaning of devotion, and the thin line that separates us from our most haunting impulses. The Almost Moon is a story of passion and redemption written with the strength of voice that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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