book review: Beneath a meth moon: an elegy
author: Jacqueline Woodson
date: Nancy Paulsen Books; February 2012
main character: Laurel Daneau
“Moon” is meth and Laurel has fallen deeply under its spell. Woodson weaves Laurel’s story from the middle to the front and back again, letting readers uncover the path of Laurel’s addiction. We know up front she’s an addict: we meet her panhandling on the street. We know she loves her father and little brother and we find out what happens to her mother and M’Lady but we keep reading to find out why these things happened and in doing so, how they’ve affected Laurel. Of course sometimes, for somethings, there are no reasons. Maybe Laurel couldn’t let go of her past, but we all know that addiction is just in our DNA.
From the beginning we know Moses is going to be important to Laurel, but we have to keep reading to find out why. There’s a place in the story where Moses is telling Laurel that he, a queer man, paints the faces of dead addicts, of those who have become invisible, on exterior walls for all to see. It’s an interesting point about how society makes the disenfranchised, (those who are of color, queer, disabled, addicted…) invisible and how we can give each other a voice. Laurel’s voice is one of hope in overcoming our past.
Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning author of picture, middle grade and young adult books.
I read an ARC copy for this review.