Don’t read any further if you want to avoid a spoiler similar to the one I encountered and was annoyed by. I was happily cruising around on Facebook when someone mentioned in their status the crucial ‘secret’ at the beginning of Moon Pie by Simon Mason. I had begun reading the book the same day, and I have no doubt that as an adult I would have been quick to realise what the matter was with the Dad in the book, unlike his daughter Martha.
But it sort of removed my early thoughts on the plot line, and it took away some of my enjoyment. I have heard only good things about Moon Pie, and it is a lovely book. Nice and easy to read and a sweet story. But can you feel a but coming?
Martha is 11 and her brother Tug is only five. Their Dad has gone a bit funny after their Mum died. But it’s not grief. It’s drink. He does silly things to begin with, and later on they become much more worrisome. She worries a lot, without knowing quite what’s wrong. But she’s also very capable. She cooks and cleans and writes lists and reads bedtime stories to Tug.
It is a very worthy topic. It needs addressing. You need to see that there are solutions, but also that not every drink problem can be solved happily.
But I think there are two story lines in this book and they don’t go together well. Lovely though Martha is, I don’t believe in her. The dreadful grandparents are cardboard cutouts. I don’t know when the story is set. To my mind it’s not old, but nor is it up-to-date.
And I believe that if I was a young child facing this problem at home, I would worry that I was nowhere near good enough at all those things that Martha can do. Or am I being fussy?
It’s like a fairy tale, almost. But do you have alcoholism in fairy tales?
(And I’m so glad I didn’t see the cover until writing this post.)