Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Almost Moon
As I said in my last post I enjoyed Alice Sebold's first novel, The Lovely Bones (except for that strange part at the end and I see I'm not alone there). Despite the odd ending, I considered it a book I might re-read at some point.
I don't like to give away plot points, but I think by telling you The Almost Moon is about a woman who kills her mother I've given nothing away. This fact is made clear in the first line and the rest of the book details this daughter's actions and thoughts over the next 24 hours, as well as a look back at her dysfunctional family and childhood.
I like Sebold's writing, I think she tells a good tale. But the tale itself? Mmmmmmm, well, I was not a fan. I like sad books, depressing books, books that show the negative side of human nature. But this was somehow different. Perhaps because all our families are a little bit dysfunctional or odd behind closed doors, perhaps because at some point most of us will deal with an aged, or ill parent, perhaps it hits too close to home but it all serves to make this an uncomfortable read. The first few chapters are so intense I wouldn't be surprised if casual readers don't make it past them. I do like the cover of this book - an almost blinding red - it is intense and harsh, just like the words it holds within. The characters in this book are highly unlikable - I found I couldn't identify with them or their choices, particularly the main character, Helen.
I am sure The Almost Moon will be purchased and read by the thousands, thus my opinion won't hurt it's success at all. I'll certainly be interested to see what others think of this book. To tell you the truth, I don't think I can say 'I'm glad I read it' but I don't think I could have helped myself.
On a brighter note, I posted a while back about some cookbook releases I was looking forward to. I've been fortunate enough to borrow some of these from the library and thought I'd share one I've particularly enjoyed browsing, The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Katzen. This is a slim book, only around 160 pages containing just under 100 recipes. The book is beautifully produced with a colorful cover and the hand written text and drawings within are done by Katzen. I have tagged so many recipes in it, I think this may have to go on my Christmas list. The recipes are interesting and unique without being fussy or calling for too many ingredients. Here are some of the wonderful sounding recipes:
Artichoke heart and spinach gratin
Tarragon pecan asparagus
Braised Brussels sprouts in maple mustard sauce
Southwest summer corn hash
Mushroom stuffed mushrooms with wild rice and goat cheese
And many more! I think this would be a great book for a vegetarian or really anyone looking for interesting vegetable recipes as a side dish.
Incidentally, my Bookclub met on Thursday evening to discuss Water for Elephants and it was universally loved by all. We found ourselves discussing our own lives a bit more than the book, but it was a good meeting and a rarity since we hardly ever all agree on books.