Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the almost moon

Well, it's been awhile since I did a book giveaway! I feel I'm not blogging as much in general the last couple of months-- and don't even get me started on how sporadic I've been with my meal planning and how I've been completely MIA on that other blog I have. Yeah, I remember it's there. I just have to find the time to get to it!

Anyway, book time.
Hey, did I tell you? I'm in a club! A real live club!!
I was thinking the other night; I've never been in a club before. Unless you count my sister and I making a "club" when we were like ten years old just to be able to kick Mikey, the brat across the street, out of our yard. A Girls Only Club.
So now, twenty-some years after fantasizing about being so lucky as to be a part of a real club (come on-- you know you would have given anything to be a part of your own Babysitters' Club!!), I've finally arrived.

A random St Louis area blogger who found my blog a few months ago, invited me to join her as she's starting up a new Book Club! She knew I enjoyed reading (and that I need a good excuse to get through more books) and asked if I would be interested in being a part of a fun book club. We had our first meeting this past Friday in the coffeeshop at a Border's Bookstore. It was so fun to meet these girls and I am very much looking forward to getting to know everyone and meeting more often to discuss some great books (and other random moms-away-from-their-kids topics) as well as a great excuse to just get out of the house and do something!

So the book we read for October was The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold.
Very interesting book. I'm just going to come out and say, as a general description of my impression, I found this book really depressing. It starts out from the beginning with Helen, the narrator, killing her elderly senile mother who is under her resentful care. The story continues through a bunch of implausable situations and actions on Helen's part that I had a hard time following.

The book itself jumps often between the past and present, which seems to be typical of Sebold's writing, and usually I enjoy. I love delving into the past and love it when an author can use that so well to enhance the story she's telling. This time however, I found it confusing, distracting, and many flashbacks made no sense to me in how the details of them had anything to do with the story at hand. I also had trouble distinguishing between characters and who was doing what when. I later realized though, that this feeling of unfocused, distracted, random trains of thoughts would be exactly how Helen's mind was working after the horrific evening she had, and it made me appreciate that a little more.

While I liked the potential of the glimpses at Helen's fractured past and how they affect who she is as a woman and mother herself now, I found it all to be quite depressing. Mental illness is a heavy subject and while some snips of her reflections were enlightening and thought provoking, the overall picture of her childhood tainted by so much of it -and then with no resolution except for her father commiting suicide years before, her own dysfunctional relationships with her daughters, her failed marriage with the man who seems like the one good thing in her life, and her ridiculous behavior after finally murdering her mother on whom she blames all of her problems (and her own mental illness?) in the first place... It all just left me feeling miserable. Throughout the book I went back and forth from being bored to being baffled, and then ultimately to being disappointed.

It is definitely interesting and a great intense book for discussion. I'd be interested in hearing other takes on it too. If you haven't read it, here's your chance!

As most of you know, there's a little thing I like to do around here with the books I read...
Pass them on to you! If you're interested in a slightly used paperback copy of The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold to read for yourself, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post. Do that by Sunday, October 26th, and I'll randomly choose one commenter to pass the book on to! I'll send it right to your door, free of charge, just be sure you leave me a link or email to contact you if you're the winner and if I don't have that info already.

And if you have read the book, don't hesitate to leave a comment with any book discussion you have to add to -or take away from- my quick review.
FYI, The next book we're reading for the November book club is Barefoot, by Elin Hilderbrand and anyone who's interested in reading along is more than welcome to! It'd be neat to have some other outside (online) perspectives going into our group discussion as well. If you don't want to read it and want to wait to hear my take on it and possibly get it from me for free later on, be watching for that next month!!

***ETA*** Congrats Jane! You're the winning reader this time! I'll be in touch to get your mailing info. Enjoy!!


Kristi @ Mi Vida Ocupada said...

Count me in....I love FREE books!

Jennifer Cowan said...

I am impressed you finished it. I have liked other Alice Seabold books, but not this one. Depresssing hits it on the head. I also felt like it was just draging on and really unrealistic and it is has been sitting on my nightstand for at least a year waiting to be finished. Yep I probably won't ever finish it.

A St. Louis native who found your blog thru Nicole.

jane said...

I have read Alice Seabold's other books and really enjoyed them. I will have to check this one out. I love reading books from book clubs, they are usually pretty interesting.

Mandy said...

I have never heard of this author, but thought it may be something to try out!

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog post. Wow you hit the book dead on. Too bad there weren't more of us to have a discussion like that last Friday. Barefoot is much better.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

so glad I found your blog. new reads are always a good thing!

Michelle Leigh said...

I read this last month and to be honest, I didn't like it. Seriously depressing!

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