The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

As you can tell from my recommended books list, I enjoyed The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Well, while recently browsing my lastest sucky issue of Marie Claire (they fell way off–I can read Vogue for the crap they put in the mag now), I noticed that Sebold is releasing a new book in October. Of course I went on Amazon to read an additional summary. Ok, so why did Publisher’s Weekly crush the book already?

Sebold’s disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator’s statement that she has killed her mother. Helen Knightly, herself the mother of two daughters and an art class model old enough to be the mother of the students who sketch her nude figure, is the dutiful but resentful caretaker for her senile 88-year-old mother, Clair. One day, traumatized by the stink of Clair’s voided bowels and determined to bathe her, Helen succumbs to a life-long dream and smothers Clair, who had sucked the life out of [Helen] day by day, year by year. After dragging Clair’s corpse into the cellar and phoning her ex-husband to confess her crime, Helen has sex with her best friend’s 30-year-old blond-god doofus son. Jumping between past and present, Sebold reveals the family’s fractured past (insane, agoraphobic mother; tormented father, dead by suicide) and creates a portrait of Clair that resembles Sebold’s own mother as portrayed in her memoir, Lucky. While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother’s hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen’s handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that’s clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent.

Dang. Should I still add it to the neverending future reading list? Hmmm…

Happy reading, ya’ll!

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7 thoughts on “The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

  1. In the literary world it is said among authors — that three pot boilers will ruin a writers career. Pot boilers are bad books that are poorly written with bad plots, uninspiring, uninspiring characters, sometimes incoherent story lines, etc this can destroy a writers credibility with publishing houses and editors. Some writers are not fit to write about anything. Some writers are novelists, but some novelists are only fit to write about romances, others about crime thrillers, others about morality of certain situations in life etc etc if a writer has had success in a particular field, and tried to write about other topics, and it does not work out then they should stick to what got them to the top. Charles Dickens could write about anything, and any story plot and sell many books, he had a vivid imagination. The black writers Richard wright, Langston Hughes, and James Baldwin all could write about various topics, and sell many books, but many black writers today who write novels are not as versatile as these three black writers.

    I feel that part of the reason is because these three black writers grew up in times when there was a lot of struggle for black Americans. So they used this combined, with imagination to create stories and write about the social situations of their time. Imagination is very important.

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  2. I fully intend on picking the book up on the 16th and forming my own opinion. I saw the review you mentioned earlier and could only think, “Say, what?” If anything I am very interested as it is somewhat the reverse of The Lovely Bones in that we have the killer as the narrator and sympathetic character.

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  3. whoever wrote this.. “Sebold’s disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator’s statement that she has killed her mother” is stupid. this is sebolds THIRD novel.. She wrote LUCKY, LOVELY BONES and THE ALMOST MOOn. anyways i havent read this one yet but im dying too. i loved ehr other two novels.

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  4. i was very dissapointed with the almost moon. . . i love the lovely bones which i must add is my fav book and i really enjoyed reading lucky it was very moving so needless to say i was really looking forward to reading the almost moon, sadly i didnt enjoy it but im hopeing that she will soon release a 4th novel which i will read and hopefully enjoy 🙂

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