Monday, December 22, 2014
The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Info: Bantam, copyright 2010, 269 pages
Emily Benedict came to Lullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. Such as, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? And why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew - a reclusive, real-life gentle giant - she realizes that mysteries aren't solved in Lullaby, they're a way of life: Here are room where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope int he form of cakes.
Every in Lullaby adores Julia Winterson's cake - which is a good thing, because Julia can't seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar...Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she's hurt in the past?
Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
I think Sarah Addison Allen is my spirit animal. Can a person be a spirit animal? Not only does she consistently write whimsical gems set in the South, but she enjoys pastries and seems to be a hopeless romantic.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon isn't serious literature. But it's also not quite fluff. It's magic, and mystery, and hope wrapped up in a delicious, sweet package. Her characters are thoughtful, a bit insecure, but always dreaming, hoping. Her secondary characters could use a little attention. Sometimes they're mentioned in glimpses, but you never get a full idea of who they are. Her heroines, on the other hand are complicated and wonderful.
Emily takes the loss of her mother well...or as well as a teenager can take losing her only parent. She is resilient and compassionate, allowing herself to open up to the grandfather she never knew and keeping an open mind toward the town her mother left behind. And Julia. Well Julia wants to believe she's independent. Wants to believe she is a loner, better off and happier alone. But the pull toward happiness, toward someone or something has led her back to the town she also tried to leave behind.
Mullaby reminded me a little of Stars Hollow. Everyone seems to know everyone. The Mayor likes to make himself seen (for some reason I pictured him as Colonel Sanders...not sure why, but it made for a great play in my head :), and there's a diner that everyone likes to visit. There's tons of Southern hospitality, tasty barbecue, and enough sugar to make you hungry while you're reading.
Like all of Allen's books, I wanted more. I wanted to live in the story with these characters for just a bit longer. But she's still got a few on the shelf that I haven't picked up yet, so that will have to do.