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Hunger Moon Hardcover – May 1, 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–In brief scenes, like snapshots from an album, Lamstein depicts a 1954 Chicago family on the verge of breakdown. Ruthie Tepper, 12, is the responsible older sister to three brothers, one of whom, Eddy, may be retarded. Her stressed parents own a bookstore, and supporting the family is clearly a struggle. They don't relate to their children, and Mom is angry much of the time. Longing for love and attention, Ruthie boasts that she's been nominated for class president, but gets no reaction from her family. An avid reader, she proudly makes it onto her school's Book Parade team. Her mother attends the competition, but doesn't compliment her daughter on her exceptional performance until she is startled into noticing it by Ruthie's friend. Overflowing with happiness, the girl begins to talk about the event, only to be cut off by her mother: "Too bad the other team won." Later, as Ruthie's despair boils over, she decides to take Eddy out of the fray and runs away with him. Some readers may be disappointed that there are no major turnarounds here, but the tiny changes after the children are returned by the police–a mother touching her daughter's hand, a father saying thank you to his son–are realistic signs of hope and growth. A good choice for reluctant readers or for children suffering through difficult family situations.–Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. There is always homemade cake in 12-year-old Ruth's house, but the nourishment she craves can't be mixed from butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. Ruth's younger brother, Eddy, is mentally slow and physically frail, and he absorbs all her parents' limited attention. Although initially envious of Eddy's central role in the family, Ruth becomes increasingly protective of him as she watches her parents' emotional resources dwindle to a pair of frustration-sharpened points. Lamstein unfolds this 1950s drama in vignettes that trenchantly expose a family sinking into dysfunction. The baby boomer-friendly references and the theme of glossy domesticity shielding darker realities, for which the mother's Betty Crocker-perfect cakes are a rich metaphor, won't be fully appreciated by the middle-grade audience. However, many young readers will sympathize with Ruth's experience of being pushed to the margins by distracted parents and feel empowered by her ability to tug her troubled family toward reconciliation. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425055
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,151,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm thinking of Norma Klein's books and The Summer of the Swans.

I'm 39 (and a half!) but I was completely engrossed in ruthie's first person perspective on her family ... and reading this as a mother myself, it was a fine reminder of how a child experiences a parent's anger. (and I really appreciated that Ruthie's mother wasn't some sort of wicked witch - her circumstances fuelled her behavior and on some level, you feel for her.

This would be a great title for mother-daughter book clubs.
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By A Customer on June 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Hunger Moon is an unforgettable book. Told in first-person vignettes, protagonist Ruthie does not embellish these scenes from her life; she merely lays them out with unflinching honesty and dares the reader not to blink. The emotions readers feel are unmanipulated and achingly real. Sarah Lamstein's spare prose haunts as you realize this is not a quiet book at all. Hunger Moon tells the truth about pain, and ultimately edges uneasily toward toward hope and healing. Exquisite.
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Format: Hardcover
There is an immediacy to this slim gem of a book that tugs at you, that instantly transports the reader back to childhood and forward to children yet unborn. Ruthie's mother's kitchen is full of the high peaks of egg whites and the lows of yolks beaten. This is a story truly spoken from a child's mind and each disarming vignette pulses like a heartbeat. I want to read this book over and over again, and remember....
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By A Customer on June 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I went to bed last night and woke up this morning thinking and caring about Ruthie Tepper -- her open heart, her longing and confusion, her shoulders shaking from trying to hold in her giggles. Sarah Lamstein has created an unforgettable character. Every moment of her story seems true.
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Format: Hardcover
Sarah Lamstein had me wrapped around her storytelling finger. Her ability to create powerful characterizations with an economy of words and her choice of sensory detail and unique particulars gave this gem of a book poignancy and punch. Lamstein's writing anchored me in Ruthie's heart, mind and world. I wanted the story to go on and yet knew where it ended was exactly right. A gem of a book that puts you right back into your 11-year-old shoes.
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