Review–The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

The Almost Moon
by Alice Sebold
Summary: 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.

Source: I borrowed a paperback from a friend!

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“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”
That’s seriously the first sentence of the book.  The Almost Moon was a twisted, messed up story told in the beautiful style that is Alice Sebold. It took plenty of strolls down memory lane and it wasn’t very organized, but still had me turning the pages to find out what happened next, whether I wanted to know what happened in the past or what would happen after Helen killed her mother.

I’m not sure whether I liked The Almost Moon or not. I loved the twisted nature of the plot and the fact that Helen basically went off the deep end and nothing she did made sense. It was fascinating. However, I’m starting to think that the author just doesn’t write things that make direct points. Or maybe I just miss them in everything she reads. I loved her memoir and The Lovely Bones, but neither one of them really had An Ending. They just sort of lingered and fizzled out. The Almost Moon didn’t have an arc at all. No beginning, no end, no middle. Just.. randomness. It was fascinating, but it could have been phenomenal had it touched upon one issue and stayed there or if it just focused more on the main issue.

The other thing that bothered me about The Almost Moon was the main character. That first sentence was shocking. I expected the story to basically get me to that point and understand why she did the things she did. And it kind of did, but not really. Helen’s actions make no sense in any context. Why did she made poor decision after poor decision? The only thing I can actually come up with is that she is, in fact, a sociopath. And I don’t think I’m supposed to have come to that conclusion. I’m supposed to understand how her life had gotten her to the point of killing her mother. Right?

I said while reading it that it reminded me a bit of Chuck Palahniuk in the way that it was so off the wall, twisted, and weird, but in a softer, more lyrical way. But that’s not really correct. Chuck Palahniuk has themes and points and reasons. His books are all the more hard hitting because they say something. Alice Sebold says so much, but so erratically that I’m not even sure she said anything powerful.

I was totally fascinated by the novel, but at the end, I kind of asked myself, “What the F*** did I just read?”