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The Slow Moon: A Novel Paperback – August 14, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cox's carefully wrought latest (following Familiar Ground) delineates the heartbreaking cruelty that sunders a group of adolescent friends in a small Tennessee town. During a late-night party, high school sweethearts Sophie and Crow go off into the woods. When Crow leaves Sophie for 20 minutes to fetch a condom, she's raped and beaten by a group of boys she will not be able to identify after the trauma. To the shock of the town, Crow, known to be a fine and upstanding young man, is charged with her attack. Cox painstakingly enters the consciousness of the various characters who have a stake in Crow's fate, including his diffident, religious mother, Helen, and adulterous stepfather, Carl; Crow's younger brother, Johnny, who struggles to come to terms with his homosexual attraction for Tom, one of the boys in Crow's band; the judge adjudicating Crow's case, Aurelia Bailey, who has to manage her own troubled teenage boy, Bobbie; and other teens and townsfolk. The fact of Crow's innocence is plain to all, yet no one moves to defend him, not even Sophie, who claims she can't remember what happened. Cox stands back and lets the truth emerge with quiet determination. (Aug. 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–In a voice reminiscent of Alice Hoffman's, Cox weaves a story of love, sex, and scandal in a small Southern town. She deals with the issues of rape and infidelity thoughtfully and sensitively. Like people in many small towns, the folks of South Pittsburg, TN, have known one another for too long. They believe that there is nothing new to learn–until Sophie and Rita Chabot move in. Everyone at the local high school has a thing for Sophie. She is beautiful, artistic, and friendly. Rita, her newly widowed mother, is a provocative influence on both the men and their wives at the local hardware store. Change is good until the teen is brutally gang-raped after a party. And so starts a complicated tale of hidden truths, lost love, and enduring spirit. Cox's portrayal of awkward first love carries the novel beyond its dark subject matter, invoking, as does life, both grief and cheer. Told nonlinearly, the story focuses on the characters, leaving readers to try to predict who committed the vicious crime. Teens will be drawn to Sophie, her boyfriend, and the members of his band. Many will recognize, if not themselves, then people they know in real life.–Brigeen Radoicich, Fresno County Office of Education, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (August 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081297770X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812977707
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,133,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Hinton VINE VOICE on August 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Slow Moon is the story of what happens when the small town of South Pittsburg, TN is thrown into turmoil when an act of unspeakable brutality is committed against one of its children. Crow Davenport, 16, and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Sophie Chabot, sneak away from a party to make love when Crow remembers that he forgot his condoms in his car. He leaves Sophie to retrieve them, and in his absence Sophie is raped and assaulted. When he hears police sirens upon returning to the scene, Crow's first instinct is to flee, which he does.

The aftermath of Crow's decision and the harsh reality of what happened to Sophie cause life in South Pittsburg to virtually halt. There is a sea filled with accusations and doubts that flows through the heart of the locals. Some cannot believe that Crow, a priveleged child whose father is one of the most wealthy men in the town, would be capable of assaulting anyone; while others grasp on their need to blame someone and choose Crow as the scapegoat. Though Crow and Sophie are clearly at the forefront of the story, Cox also takes care with her descriptions of the other residents of South Pittsburg so the reader truly understands how invested they are in what happened.

The Slow Moon is more than just a story about a girl who was raped and her boyfriend's efforts to acquit himself of the crime, but a beautifully woven tale about trust and mistrust, doubts and accusations, and the struggle to put back together something that may be irreparably shattered. I picked up this book because my favorite author, Elizabeth Berg, once said that she would buy anything Elizabeth Cox ever wrote. I am now in agreement. This story was beautifully written and told with such poignance and grace that it's hard to find fault with any part of it. I read it in about four hours and if you pick it up, prepare to read it in one sitting. It's that good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kangelop on February 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Reading this book was painful. There were too many people to keep track of, and I did not care about any of them. I found the writing disjunct, and told from too many points of view. I could not WAIT for the book to end.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pelletier on December 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Toward the middle of the novel, I began to wonder how quickly it had been written. While the beginning has some potential - not so much in the writing, since there was nothing spectacular about the words or how they were presented, but in the plot - the rest of the novel begs for revision.

The plot teeters. From the book description: "Despite Crow's frantic claims of innocence, evidence at the scene suggests his guilt." I expected some ambiguity, some mystery, but right from the beginning we know that Crow isn't to blame, and Cox might as well hang a neon sign with the culprits' names - there's no mystery there.

Cox switches points of view constantly, giving us an omniscient view of the consequences of the rape. But, unfortunately, she remains very distant from the characters; there's not as much pyschological exploration as you'd expect, or want. She sets up an internal conflict with Crow, who feels guilty about running away when he finds his girlfriend raped, but doesn't explore his feelings very deeply and, in the end, puts him in another situational test to redeem himself; however, the situation is so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh. A better situational test could have been included when the rapist reveals himself to Crow. Crow could have punched him or done just about anything besides what he does: yell and flail his arms and tell him to leave. With Sophie, too, you'd expect some deep psychological probing to display her reaction to her rape, but we don't get much there either. She leaves state for a while and paints a little. That's it.

As for the culprits, they're present the entire time, and we're supposed to be surprised when they're identified. Cox even leaves this chapter in a cliff-hanger Dan Brown style.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The centerpiece of Elizabeth Cox's cautionary novel The Slow Moon is a childhood friendship that ends in betrayal and treachery. With spring just beginning, the beautiful copper-coloured moon hovers over South Pittsburgh, Tennessee as two young teenagers, Crow Davenport and his girlfriend Sophie leave a party and walk into the woods toward the river to be alone.

Fuelled by adolescent lust, the two begin to undress, eager to explore each other's bodies. Realizing that he is without condoms, Crow returns to his car, leaving Sophie waiting expectantly by the riverbank. However, upon his return, he discovers that Sophie has been brutally raped and she is now semi-conscious and covered in blood. As the sounds of police sirens are heard, Crow panics, frightened he will be blamed, he races off, leaving his beloved Sophie to her fate.

But it's all too late, as Sophie remembers nothing of the evening, or her attackers, except that she was with Crow that night. With his wallet discovered at the scene of the crime, and blood found on his leg, the evidence is automatically damning. This privileged boy from one of South Pittsburgh's wealthiest families is placed on trial for rape.

In the light of day, Crow continues to maintain his innocence and is supported by Helen, his religious mother and Carl his reserved, detached stepfather. Helen's heart struggles against the idea that Crow might be guilty of something terrible, whilst Crow tries to imagine Sophie and why he felt the need to lie, he remembered kissing her, but over the days she becomes almost "faceless as he remembered."

As consensus amongst the community begins to build that Crow may indeed be innocent, the police begin looking at the possibility more than one person did that this.
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