Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

This one drew me in, I must say. It’s one of those survivalist-living-off-the-land while-escaping-the-bad-policeman adventures.

Moon and his father have been living off the land in as-near isolation as a paranoid, anti-government survivalist can. Moon has never seen another human being in his 10 years than the storekeeper who trades fur/food with his dad. He does have a vague memory of his mother who died when he was very young.

After his father breaks his leg and dies of a subsequent infection, Moon is left completely alone. His only endowments from his father are: exceptional survival skills, an old gun, traps, a wheelbarrow, and the advice to head for Alaska and find more people like themselves who are hiding from the government.

As soon as the shopkeeper realizes that Moon’s father is dead, he contacts the local law enforcement, but Moon escapes. Though this sets him on edge, he is lonely enough to venture close to a lawyer who lives nearby. Moon is brought into a boys’ home, but first he meets a local officer who is a petty, violent man. He hates Moon after Moon gets the better of him, and when Moon escapes from the boys’ home, he is hot on his trail for revenge.

Moon manages to evade him, make friends with 2 boys who have escaped the home with him, and evades capture until one of his friends gets sick. Now that Moon has forged his first friendship, he is vulnerable, and he brings his friend in for help.

His other new friend helps Moon keep hidden, but Moon eventually has to deal with the hated law officer, the death of his sick friend, and the conflict he has between his yearning for community and family and what his father taught him. Decent adults help him through. He even finds family in the end.

There is some minor language (dumbas*) which is tame, esp. for the setting in the boys’ home. There is an antagonistic relationship between the police officer and Moon in which he physically hurts Moon and acts mentally unstable. It’s counter-balanced by decent authority figures. Moon fights people but only when he is defending himself and never because he really wants to.

The community Moon yearns for is realized in the hopeful ending where he reunites with family. There is no sense of the Trinitarian relationship of love that this points to. You’ll have to fill in the blanks. Moon, per his father’s advice, tries to communicate with his father by writing letters and burning them. He remains extraordinarily lonesome until he finds friends and family.

We never get the full story on Moon's father's reasons for his extreme behavior, just that he was in Vietnam and came back changed...


See Catechism of the Catholic Church: Family as image of unity of Trinity 2205


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