The Moon Sisters
by Therese Walsh
Why did you choose this book? I tend to read anything with ‘sisters’ in the title
When did you read this book? March 2014
Who should read this book? readers interested in ‘sister’ stories and coming of age stories
Source: TLC Book Tours
This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories.
After their mother’s probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother’s unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest.
Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.
This was an interesting book, and not quite what I expected. I think I expected a little more magic. The younger sister Olivia, has synesthesia, which seems a bit magical, but is a real condition in which a person experiences sensations in enhances ways. For example, tasting color, or seeing a certain color when a number is mentioned. I think it is hard for those of us without synesthesia to understand it, and that is certainly the case with Jazz, the older sister.
The story starts with the death of the girls mother, who has been estranged from her father since becoming pregnant with Jazz. It is a possible suicide, and the entire family struggles with the implications. A few months later, the father is drinking heavily, and Jazz is about to begin a new job at the funeral home which handled her mother’s remains. Olivia is partially blind due to staring at the sun. She decided she wants to help her mother fulfill a dream, which is to visit a bog in their home state of West Virginia. Jazz thinks she is incredibly foolish, but gets roped into accompanying here by the rest of the family. They end up hopping a train and things get really interesting. They meet some ‘train-hoppers’, including Hobbs, and heavily tatooed young man about their age, and Red Grass, an older man who acts very suspiciously towards Hobbs. I really, really liked the character of Hobbs….and so did Olvia. Jazz; not so much!
One thing I liked about the book is the alternating point of view. Parts of the story were told by Jazz, and other parts by Olivia. And some of the blanks were filled in by the mother, through a series of letters she’d written to her father through the years, but never had the courage to mail. Another thing I liked is how the book was divided into parts, with each part named for one of the five stages of grief’ Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. It was interesting to see how each title tied into the events of that section. This would make a great discussion for a book club!
I have to say that I WAS a little disappointed in the ending. Regular readers of this blog know that I don’t like to leave things hanging. There are things hinted at, but an epilogue five years into the future would have been so much more satisfying. This is a good story that will give you a lot to ponder, and book clubs will have plenty to discuss.
THERESE WALSH is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.
My Rating: ★★★ 3 Stars
Therese Walsh’s Tour Stops
Monday, March 3rd: Lit and Life
Tuesday, March 4th: Beth Fish Reads – “Today’s Read” guest post
Tuesday, March 4th: Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, March 5th: Book-a-licious Mama
Thursday, March 6th: girlichef
Friday, March 7th: Books in the Burbs
Monday, March 10th: Bookchickdi
Tuesday, March 11th: Traveling with T
Wednesday, March 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, March 13th: Book Snob
Friday, March 14th: The Book Barn
Tuesday, March 18th: Fiction Addict
Tuesday, March 18th: 5 Minutes for Moms
Wednesday, March 19th: Time 2 Read
Thursday, March 20th: Bibliotica
Monday, March 24th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, March 26th: A Novel Review
Thursday, March 27th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, April 1st: Suko’s Notebook
Wednesday, April 2nd: A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, April 8th: Books a la Mode