Saturday, July 13, 2013

Beneath a Meth Moon

Crystal meth has become a scourge upon our young people. But do you really understand why? I can't say I do, but in Jacqueline Woodson's heartbreaking tale, Beneath a Meth Moon, I feel like I witnessed the devastation first-hand. 

Laurel's mama packed her and her baby brother up to go with their father north, away from the hurricane, away from the water. She said it would only be a few days and that she couldn't leave Laurel's grandmother M'Lady behind, but she lied. It was forever. As they turned and drove away, they never thought that would be the last time she would see or speak to her mother. But the water came. And the water couldn't be stopped. And the water took everything away.

At first they lived with Laurel's aunt, but in search of more work, they headed to a new town with new people and new opportunities. Laurel meets Kaylee and starts cheering. Everything finally seems like it might be a life worth living again. Until Laurel meets T-Boom, the co-captain of the team. It is T-Boom who introduces Laurel to the moon. And once she starts the moon, it isn't so easy to stop. Especially when it takes away all the memories, all the pain, and all the emotions. 

This is a short, quick story, but it is devastating, both in the poetic beauty with which it is written, and the haunting devastation of the content. You see this innocent 15 year old girl who lost her mother and her grandmother, and even having a loving father and a little brother who needs her can't make her stop using. She knows it is killing her, she sees herself in the store windows, but when the itch starts, all she can think about is the moon (meth). 

I have read a number of addiction YA stories in the past, but there is something so melodic and poetic about the way this story was written that it makes you almost feel guilty in finding beauty in a story of such devastation. That conflict of emotions may be what made me like this story so much. It is written in simple language with large type and is a fast story, so this would be a very good story for an older student who struggles with reading. They won't be bogged down by the heavy content because the writing style is so smooth and easy to read. This story makes me want to explore more from Woodson. I am very impressed by my first story from her!

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