the observer Sat 11 October 2008
Desperate to escape the 'crying, barking and biting' of her mentally ill octogenarian mother, Helen Knightly fulfils a lifelong dream: she murders her. Alice Sebold's follow-up to The Lovely Bones depicts a lonely, suburban divorcee as she wrestles with five decades of painful memories and the 24-hour aftermath of her brutal act. Although well-paced and emotionally charged, The Almost Moon suffers from a heroine who is hard to like - and sometimes believe in - despite the layers of misery Sebold inflicts upon her (a father's suicide, a childhood attack, a failed marriage and, of course, her 'crazy bitch' mother). Other works, notably Dave Eggers's memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, have explored the ill parent/child-carer relationship with greater poignancy and originality, but this is none the less an engaging page-turner.