The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”       Helen

What does a reader do with that kind of opening line? There is no risk of giving away the plot to this book to you, because Alice Sebold gives it all away on every page. This book grabbed me up, shoved me deep into the ragged Lazyboy recliner, and summarily cancelled my carefully planned day.

I had no intention of reading this book. I did not enjoy The Lovely Bones, skipped Lucky entirely, and only hauled The Almost Moon home because I got it for a quarter at my libraries book-sale. I  am so deep into the research for Connor’s Reach I had not opened a novel all summer, and the back page promised me a no deep thinking empathy read of the familiar tangled relationships of family, friends, and issues I like to keep at arms length: old age, dementia, and care-giving. This is a worst case horror story about all three.

I was jerked inside of our narrator Helen’s racing mind and activities for a slice of life twenty four hours of a reality made terrifying because she appears to articulates in searing observations such a clarity and insight  about parenting, friends, fathers, marriage, neighbors and communities, and especially her mother. She reveals her life, past and present, and  may  have you nodding in agreement with her as she struggles to move the cooling down body of her dead mother, then quickly betray your understanding. Helen will voice ugly thoughts, the kind of thought filled  frustrations  we do not/would not admit to having, the kind we keep secret even from ourselves about ourselves.

Helen  has killed her mother off methodically, in detail, and as she says “easily”  before we even get to the Second Chapter of the book. Is she a sociopath, psychotic, or a worn out life long caregiver pushed to over her limits?  Are we,  or someone we know,   able to  sympathize, identify, relate, or have experienced some of Helen’s  frustration and in recognition  have the ability to quick slip down to this unpardonable act? The question of who is capable of what leaped  out of the book and lodged in my  head.  Just when I got a grip back on the storyline, Helen veered off again into carefully constructed, plausible, and suddenly totally inappropriate behavior.

As  Helen prepares her coverup of what she acknowledges is a crime, she lays bare to us the public and private lives of her family members, neighbors, friends, and her own childhood.  Innocent or not, anyone connected with her  may find themselves thrust suddenly  into being complicit to a matricide.

Neither our murderess Helen, or ALice Sebold  linger over scenes or sentiments in this book.  They have a lot to take care of in the 24hours that follow Page 1 Sentence One:

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”

  A 291 page summer afternoon Lazyboy Recliner read.

Today’s Music:  Guess Who “She’s Come Undone

10 thoughts on “The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

  1. “never done a book review before”??? Well this is an AWESOME first attempt! I am heading for the library tomorrow to look for this book – which I’ve never even HEARD of til now. You sold me. THANKS!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked The Lovely Bones but had to stop to come up for air, and then go back in again….This book–oh my gosh! It was killer in every sense of the word. You almost had to wonder about her attention to detail. I never did read Lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and was not too impressed, so was I put off reading anything else by her. This one, though, sounds interesting, I might give it a go. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome. I’d never done a book review before and just thought this was such a good summer read and spot on with current social issues. I appreciate so much your positive feedback.

      Like

Comments are closed.