It was only last week I was showing off that I managed to read A Tiny Bit Marvelous by Dawn French in just one week. Clearly the reading habit benefits from practice as this week I finished this week’s novel a few days ago. I seem to be selecting books about women of a certain age at the moment. I do have a habit of reading novels that cover the time of life that I happen to be in. I think I will try something a little different this week to mix things up a bit but in the meantime I hope you enjoy my The Pull of the Moon book review.
The Pull of the Moon book review
The Pull of the Moon is the first novel I have read by author Elizabeth Berg. It is a relatively short read with well under 200 pages. It was not like anything I have read before. I enjoyed it and found myself just giving in to its almost musical magic of words. If anything it felt as real as a series of blog posts or real diary entries prompted by the experience of menopause.
Characters and plot
I usually talk about many characters in my book reviews. However, in this novel there is one key main character who dominates throughout. Nan is aged 50 and like most women of her age perhaps facing the change of life reflecting on what has gone before in her life. We follow her as she leaves her husband at least for a while. He is clearly important to her as she writes to him regularly. We also see her meanderings through her journal entries.
Nan not only needs to make sense of her life to date including abuse, marriage and parenting. She also needs to work out how she became quite so invisible along the way. She does this by carving out time and space for herself for perhaps the first time in many years. She also seeks out and learns from the characters she comes across who as in life all have their own individual tale to tell. Perhaps all wives and mothers should be allocated at least one gap year!
As I read the novel, I was reminded of when I first started blogging. I used to come across women going through similar issues as myself and felt a real connection. I was lucky enough to meet some of these in real life too. Nan described thoughts and feelings that I experience myself. Again I don’t think her husband is a bad man as such. He is thoughtless and does not give her enough credit. I think that is quite common with husbands or perhaps that is actually just how I feel. She describes her time in life as being about losses. I think that is so true – children grow up and leave home before we are ready to let them go. Husbands become less attentive. Parents are perhaps already long dead or missing in different way through frailty or dementia. Whether we admit it or not, it is in our fifties perhaps that we really confront that we too will not live forever and that just as our parents used to warn us, life really is very short.
I liked the book rather than loved it. However, I did find it helpful as it made me feel much less isolated with my current thoughts and feelings about my life. I veer between wanting to carry on looking after everyone else or putting a bigger focus on myself. I wonder if I should pursue new dreams because I do have them or is it time to just accept my lot in life? I cannot be alone and this book reassured me that I may well be absolutely normal.
I was also not used to the lyrical style of writing. There were moments when it irritated me a bit although it is also quite beautiful. There is that menopausal veering again! I did wonder whether the book might be stronger if it was just letters or just journal entries but that is a minor point.
I would probably give this book 7 out of 10 but I am pleased I read it.