24. “The girl who chased the moon” by Sarah Addison Allen


Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks, 2011
Page count: 272 pages

Following her mother’s death, teenager Emily Benedict comes to Mullaby, North Carolina, to live with her grandfather, a gentle but reclusive giant over 8 feet tall. The locals give her anything but a friendly welcome, however, leaving Emily to wonder what her mother did during her school days in Mullaby to generate such a lasting hatred.

The only ones who seem willing to treat Emily as a person in her own right, and not just Dulcie Shelley’s daughter, are Julia and Wim. Julia is a former classmate of Emily’s mother but, like Dulcie, Julia moved away for years before finally coming back two years ago to take over her father’s barbecue restaurant after his death. However, what was meant to be only a temporary stay for Julia to turn around her father’s flagging business and sell it with a profit, has been extended several times in part because Julia’s flair for cakes has turned the restaurant into a great success, and in part because the beau who let Julia down so badly back in high school is now trying to make amends. Can she find find love and happiness at last?

Wim, on the other hand, is a classmate of Emily’s and instantly takes a liking to her. Their relationship is frowned upon by his parents, however, because of something Emily’s mother did which caused Wim’s uncle to commit suicide, and so the young couple has to meet clandestinely. As it turns out, however, Wim’s uncle was not the only one keeping secrets…

After reading “The peach keeper” I was genuinely excited to pick up “The girl who chased the moon”. Excitement soon turned into disappointment, unfortunately, as many of the elements conspiring to make “The peach keeper” great, just aren’t working as well in this book. Whereas the former was filled with Southern charm and magical realism, the latter just seems trite and uninspired. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of magical realism in “The girl who chased the moon”, too: wallpapers that change depending on your mood; unexplained, flickering lights in the forest; real-life giants, and so forth. It’s just that they seem silly and are hard to take seriously. Add to this that the big revelation of the book, Dulcie’s shocking betrayal, is in fact a relative insignificant thing, and the whole book ends up feeling like a total anti-climax.

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