I recently finished reading Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon and Sebold has shot to the top of my favourite authors list. She reminds me a lot of Barbara Gowdy, who if you’ve read any of her stuff, is a very dark and twisted writer. Sebold is proving to be the same … very dark and very twisted.
The story focuses on Helen, a middle-aged woman who has two grown children, an ex-husband, a dead father, and mother who suffers from dementia. Helen’s life has been overshadowed by her mother from a young age. Her mother is agoraphobic and, as a neighbour puts it, is mentally ill. Helen’s father committed suicide when she was in her teens and Helen hasn’t been able to fully forgive her mother for it. Now, in her middle-age, when she should be enjoying her life, Helen is caring for her mother who does little but insult and scream at her any chance she gets. Finally, Helen gets fed up. After an especially toxic bout of screaming, Helen murders her mother.
The remainder of the novel covers the events of the 24-hour period after the murder. What decisions does she make? Do the cops know she did it? Will she go to jail? What will her daughters think of her?
This novel is nothing short of brilliant. It’s paced perfectly; Sebold does an amazing job of painting a non-judgmental image of Helen and her life with her mother.
Grab a copy and, as always, happy reading! 🙂