Judith D Collins
The Moon Sisters
By Therese Walsh
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 3/4/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories.
After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest.
Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.
THE MOON SISTERS is an emotional journey—a compelling read of grief, hope, and power of family bonds--the dynamics of two different sisters.Jazz, the older, is forward-thinking, hard, stubborn, and realistic.
Whereas Olivia, the younger is totally the opposite –living in a dream world, strong-willed, yet free spirited, due to her synesthesia (a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway---a mental wiring condition which senses overlap).
Think sounds, sights, scents, and tastes which will heighten and seduce you as a reader.After their mother’s unresolved death, Olivia and Jazz try and move on with their lives. Olivia spends her day staring at the sun; whereas, Jazz takes a job at the local funeral home and trying to settle into a boring life in Tramp, West Virginia.Olivia, the dreamer, sets off for Cranberry Glades with their mother's ashes, in search of the will-o-the-wisp ghost lights, to set everything right and lay her mom to rest. Jazz, tries to stop the trip before it starts.
When that fails, she goes along to keep the journey on track. Their car breaks down and Olivia hops onto a train in a desperate attempt to fulfill her mother's dream. There, she meets Hobbs, a guy running away from his life, and he agrees to lead her on her quest. Jazz, determined to bring rationality, angrily pursues them.
Each of the sisters -----hiding things from one another ---make their journey toward the acceptance of their mother’s death. However, is the journey more important than the destination?
THE MOON SISTERS alternates between Olivia and Jazz, as we get to hear from both characters and their specific viewpoints. I thorough enjoyed the poetic descriptions, and as a nature lover, could totally relate.The author,
Teresa Walsh did an outstanding job with the character development, skillfully creating a beautiful thought-provoking story of loss and recovery. I enjoyed the mixture of humor, magic, reality—a cross between two strong characters (controlling, versus spacey dreamer).
Addressing many high-charged topics such as a mother’s love, bond of sisters, love, depression, suicide, guilt, alcoholism, homeless, runaways, and theft. (I enjoyed the mother's story, as well).Fans of Sarah Addison Allen (Lost Lake), Kristin Bair O'Keeffe (The Art of Floating), and Catherine Ryan Hyde (Take Me With You), will enjoy the blending of glowing language and the dreamlike magical journey through sorrow and healing. I enjoyed the staging (which sometimes does not happen quickly).
First Stage: Denial
Second Stage: Anger
Third Stage: Bargaining
Fourth Stage: Depression
Fifth Stage: Acceptance
Synesthesia: (Found this fascinating) …
Though often stereotyped in the popular media as a medical condition or neurological aberration, many synesthetes themselves do not perceive their synesthetic experiences as a handicap. To the contrary, most report it as a gift—an additional "hidden" sense—something they would not want to miss. Most synesthetes become aware of their distinctive mode of perception in their childhood. Some have learned how to apply their ability in daily life and work.
Synesthetes have used their abilities in memorization of names and telephone numbers, mental arithmetic, and more complex creative activities like producing visual art, music, and theater.
I highly recommend THE MOON SISTERS, as this book reminds me a little of my sister and our relationship --- we are total opposites and have already begun to see the strong differences, as our mom has been recently diagnosed with colon and liver cancer.
This type of book is sometimes heartwarming as we see flawed and realistic family drama, hidden secrets, guilt and regret; however, there is always room for unconditional love and forgiveness.I look forward to reading more from this talented author (her master’s degree in psychology is definitely reflective throughout this emotional coming-of-age tale).