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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Is it fair to compare?

Much of the uproar about The Almost Moon seems to center on the fact that it is not, and in no way resembles, The Lovely Bones. I loved Sebold's first book, and I read Lucky soon afterwards to try and gain some insight into the author and her reason's for writing The Lovely Bones. It seemed to me both books were written to purge herself of a personal trauma, and somewhere along the way the author created a wonderful, unforgettable character. Lucky was not as gritty as I had expected -- it was honest without sinking into depression. The Almost Moon seems more despairing, with a main character trying to absolve and justify her actions through backstory and blame. The darkness of the story seems to inflame readers and critics who were looking for another uplifting book like The Lovely Bones.

But is it the author's responsibility to meet our expectations? What would you think of this book if you hadn't read The Lovely Bones? Yes, this book is pretty dark, but to be fair, a lot of books as dark or darker than this one have still received critical acclaim. Is it fair to compare the two fictional books this author has written?
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rally01
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-20-2007
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Re: Is it fair to compare?

This is my first Alice Sebold book so I will be able to read it from an unbiased perspective (unbiased in the meaning that I won't be able to compare it to her previous works). I am about a quarter of the way through right now and I find it difficult to put the book down. I just wish I had more time to read!!
Frequent Contributor
suetu
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎08-10-2007
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Re: Is it fair to compare?

Wow, I would never have described The Lovely Bones as "uplifting." Depressed the hell out of me. I liked the book, but for sure didn't love it. Truthfully, I found it to be ridiculously over-hyped.

When I read The Almost Moon a few months ago, I remember thinking that it was going to be a monster bestseller. (Well, it's going to sell quite a few copies no matter what.) But I really expected the novel to be incredibly well-received. I thought the story was so compelling and the writing beautiful. For me, the book was almost hypnotic. I remember picking it up on a Satuday, and having places to go and things to do, but being completely unable to put the book down until I'd finished it. As a rule, I really like happy books with happy endings, so this was definitely not my normal cup of tea. But I LOVED it. I've been raving about it ever since. To be honest, I can't exactly figure out why people are hating it so much.

So, is it fair to compare? My immediate response was: no. No, it's not fair to demand an author write the same book over and over. No, it's not fair to criticize an author for striking out in a different direction. But, I guess the market ultimatly decides what is good. I think The Almost Moon is brilliant, but I'm in the minority. Sometimes a book recieves critical acclaim, but limited readership. In this case, the book is being slammed on all sides. I respect Alice Sebold for telling the story she wants to tell, but if she continues to do so, and disappoints her readers, her career will suffer. Maybe if enough people agree with the assessment, it is fair after all. Tough to know.
Susan
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Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Is it fair to compare?

I'm so glad you joined us, so we have a variety of opinions. I liked this book, but it was overshadowed by her other books for me, and that was frustrating. Maybe "uplifting" is the wrong word to describe The Lovely Bones but, in the end, that is the feeling I was left with -- despite all the terrible things that happened, I was left with a feeling of hope and optimism. Maybe other's felt differently after reading it.

This book really should be judged on its own merits, and in a way I envy those of you who haven't read the other books first. Books are so personal, that is one reason why I always take reviews with a grain of salt. We all look for different things in books, and we all get different things out of them, too. With The Almost Moon, one thing you can say for it, whether you liked it or not -- I don't think anyone could describe it as boring!
Contributor
Debrachris
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-26-2007
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Re: Is it fair to compare?

The only comparison that it is fair to make is the expectation of quality. I thought Bones was a far superior book to Moon. Much more touching, heartfelt, interesting, compelling etc.I actually found it comforting. I always marvel at the differences of opinions... it's what makes life interesting!
Regards, Debbie
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