Friday, March 30, 2012

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

I wasn’t sure how I would enjoy this book. Realistic fiction, or rather realistic fiction that deals with an "issue" is generally not my favorite type of story. However, how can a reader not trust Ms. Woodson to take them on a journey? She is one of the best YA writers out there. I’ve read enough of her books to trust her implicitly. I may struggle with the subject, but I know I’m going to enjoy excellent writing, characterization, and storytelling along the way.

This is a book about meth. It is a story of a girl with heartache and tragedy in her life, although nothing that support and family can’t help you through. Laurel has all that, but when she’s offered meth for the first time she naively and sort of unquestionably takes it anyway. Perhaps she didn’t realize what it was? Regardless, she’s immediately transformed. It fills up the holes inside of her much more quickly than they were healing on their own. And like it will, meth quickly takes over her life.

It is an interesting contrast between how lyrical the book is written and how ugly meth is. The sores, the scratching, the desperation, it is all there in the book, but because Woodson can write with grace, this isn’t what I would call a gritty book.

There are interesting religious references. Laurel grows up in Pass Christian, a gulf coast town in Mississipi, she loses her family to a flood (caused by Hurricane Katrina), Her father moves her to a town named Galilee, where she eventually meets Moses, a boy who symbolically parts the flood waters helping her find her way to recovery and home.

This is a beautifully written book. I will say that I had a hard time connecting with Laurel. I felt held at hands length away. I felt sorry for her, but I didn’t empathize on a level that I expected to. In any case, I did appreciate how these were average everyday kids that fell into this. They weren’t typical “at risk” kids. I also appreciated how clearly it was shown that recovery is incredibly difficult, often more so for meth than other drugs. What would have driven this home would have been a meth fact page/resource list at the end.

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Book Source = Library Copy

3 comments:

Laura said...

This book sounds really good. I loved the book A Head Full of Blue by Nick Johnstone, because it had a dark lyrical way with words. Although I don't know if I want to read another story about addiction.

Laura said...

This book sounds really good. I loved the book A Head Full of Blue by Nick Johnstone, because it had a dark lyrical way with words. Although I don't know if I want to read another story about addiction.

Patti said...

Its definitely difficult to read too many of those in a row. But I was surprised that it wasn't too heavy. I didn't dread picking it up because yet another awful thing was going to happen, so that made it easier.