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Alabama Moon Paperback – September 2, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8–Moon, 10, has spent most of his life in a camouflaged shelter in the forest with his father, a Vietnam veteran who distrusts people and the government. Pap has educated him in both academics and survival skills. His life suddenly changes when the land is sold to a lawyer and his father dies. The lawyer discovers him and, believing what he is doing is best for the child, turns him over to Mr. Gene from the local boys home. When Moon escapes, Mr. Gene alerts the constable, an emotionally unstable bully who becomes obsessed with capturing him. Once at the home, though, Moon makes his first real friends and learns what friendship is all about. Much of the story revolves around multiple chases, captures, and escapes. The ending might be a bit too perfect, but it is a happy one for Moon. The book is well written with a flowing style, plenty of dialogue, and lots of action. The characters are well drawn and three-dimensional, except for the constable–but then, maybe thats all there is to him. Even those who knew him as a child have nothing good to say about him. The language is in keeping with the characters personalities and the situations. Although Moon is only 10, older readers will also enjoy the book and will better understand the adults perspectives.–Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* This excellent novel of survival and adventure begins with the death of young Moon's father, an antigovernment radical who has been living off the land in rural Alabama with Moon for years. Moon has never known any truth but his dad's, and so he tries to continue his father's lifestyle. Unfortunately, Moon quickly finds himself in the claws of civilization, as personified by a sadistic cop. After a brief stint in jail (a lifetime of hunting and gathering leaves Moon hilariously pleased with the prison food), Moon again lights out for the territories, only to be recaptured and end up in reform school. Of course, no reform school is gonna keep Moon in check. Key's first novel is populated with memorable characters--such as Moon's reform-school buddy's dad, whose life is devoted to drinking and shooting machine guns--and studded with utterly authentic details about rural Alabama and survivalism. Stylistically, the book is perfectly paced, and Moon's narration is thoroughly believable. A terrific choice for reluctant readers and also for fans of Gary Paulsen's Brian novels. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
There's really only one thing you need to know about the story: Moon's Pap has died and left him to fend for himself in the woods where they had always lived alone, survivialist style, with instructions to head for Alaska. The rest of the book is all Moon as he confronts the real world and navigates friendship, trouble and where he fits in, and he is fabulous. Moon is confused and angry at all the grown-ups trying to control his life now that his dad is gone and there's no one else to take him in-- ostensibly he has no family other than his deceased father. He knows so much about how to live by himself in the forest, and yet is so naive about how the world works.
I cried at the beginning when Moon's Pap dies and then laughed as Moon refuses to back down repeatedly, "whipping up" on multiple adults who underestimate him throughout the book. It's really a poignant story of loss and love and finding a sense of normalcy. There aren't that many truly unique characters out there, where you feel like the author gets it exactly right, but Moon is one. He sticks with you after the book is done. He's really something.
Utterly competent living in the forest, Moon Blake experiences the height of culture shock when his survivalist father dies and he runs smack into the outside world. Moon is unfamiliar with things like fatty food (or enough food), television, and clothes made out of things other than animals skins, let alone the wrongheadedness and lies of certain supposed representatives of the law. Trying to fulfill his father's last instructions to go to Alaska and live with other people who hate the government, Moon soon escapes from the locked boys' home where he's been dumped, taking two other boys with him. (Well, more at first, actually--that part's very funny!)
But Moon is starting to change, realizing that, unlike his father, he's not happy being alone. When things go wrong out in the forest, Moon begins making new kinds of decisions. Of course, it doesn't help that the wacked-out small-town constable whose pride Moon has wounded is after him, and not exactly with lawful intent.
Moon is the most real, intriguing protagonist I've read about since Maniac Magee. I had to catch my breath when I finished this book, it was that good. I then ran to my computer to tell you: please read this book. It's one of the best things to hit children's literature in years!
It carries a lesson for people of all ages, especially boys, though it would be advisable to read together, as parents may wish to skip over some swear words, and some reference to nudity.
The overal tone is sad and moving, but unlike many other books, this one is actually worth the effort to read.