This book is from the bestselling author of "The Lovely Bones".'When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.'For years, Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now-grown daughters. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a ...
This book is from the bestselling author of "The Lovely Bones".'When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.'For years, Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now-grown daughters. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined.Unfolding over twenty-four hours, this searing novel explores the 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 humanity and fluidity that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page.
You would think that a book about a psychopath killing her mother, a book full of sex and violence and insanity, should be interesting. I found myself really bored with this one and had to stop reading it about 80 pages in. The pace is sluggish, with confusing flashbacks that sometimes have nothing to do with the plot. The main character's violent desires are a bit cliche. It was so difficult to pay attention that I suddenly found myself not knowing who some of the minor characters were. This is the first book I have read by Alice Sebold, and I hope her other books aren't this terrible.
Feb 12, 2008
I've read all of Alice Sebold's books. I found Lucky to be honest and interesting. The Lovely Bones was disturbing, but also interesting. Her new book, The Almost Moon, is really over the top. The narrator kills her Mother, who has characteristics that Sebold used to describe her own mother in Lucky. After killing her, she attempts to put her in a freezer, but decides she cannot dismember her. She then has a few sexual encounters with her best friend's much younger son. She plans to commit suicide, but then decides the wait out the police and be arrested. Alice should really seek additional therapy!
Nov 27, 2007
An Almost Success
Alice Sebold, who had a dazzling debut in 'The Lovely Bones', unfortunately seems to have fallen prey to the second-novel syndrome. While both 'Lucky' and 'The Lovely Bones' were masterpieces, showcasing a major new talent who could write heart wrenching brutal and tender prose, she seems to have lost her way somewhat in trying to break new and unfamiliar ground in 'The Almost Moon'. What seemed effortless and heartfelt in her earlier books is almost detached and voyeuristic here, and she seems to be relying more on shock value than on the strength of her narrative. Helen, the first person protagonist, kills her mother in the first line of the book and seduces her best friend's son in the next few pages, but still, one gets the feeling that nothing much is going on.
Nov 1, 2007
A recommendation with reservations
This story describes a family that puts the dys in dysfunctional. It is a dark look at mental illness and the relationship between a mother and daughter and also to her father. It opens with the killing of the mother by her daughter who has been her caretaker in her old age. Do not compare with The Lovely Bones. This is totally different except that both are dark and neither one is uplifting. Well written and compelling.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-11-26 Joan Allen fails to breathe sufficient life into Alice Sebold's second novel to make it worth the listen, but she really doesn't have much to work with. Helen Knightly, a divorced mother of two grown daughters, impulsively murders her 88-year-old mother, Claire. The story then flips back and forth between Helen's response to her present-day act and long flashbacks exploring her love/hate relationships with her emotionally volatile, agoraphobic mother and her suicidal, peculiarly obsessed father. Allen's calm, even voice makes Helen's most irrational actions (smothering her mother, cutting her clothes off, bathing her dead body and dragging it down to the basement) sound nearly as reasonable to listeners as they do to Helen. Allen also marvelously evokes the cracked, demented tones of Helen's aged mother. Unfortunately, the older Claire Knightly appears in only the smallest portion of the book, and Allen barely troubles to distinguish the voices of the other characters. Her unvarying voice, combined with the tediously introspective text, make this audio a real slog. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 27). (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-08-27 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. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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