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Unhooking the Moon

Posted on Mar 19, 2011

Gregory Hughes
(Quercus)

When their father dies unexpectedly, Marie-Claire (better known as the Rat) and her older brother Bob find themselves orphaned. Desperate not to be separated, they would rather walk from the Canadian prairies to downtown New York to find their only remaining family member, an uncle they have never met, than to be discovered and taken in by children’s services. And Ss begins the road trip of a life time, where the two siblings will meet the most unlikely of characters, from a cigar smuggler to a conman, and from a rap star  to paedophiles. Their quest is a mix of happiness, fear and surprises, but will they find their uncle, and will there really be a happy ending for Bob and the Rat?
I read this book ages ago, but I have not been able to write a review. The truth is, after all these months, I still cannot decide whether I liked Unhooking the Moon.  I enjoyed many parts of it; the Rat and Bob are incredible characters. I was moved particularly by Bob’s complete devotion towards his sister, who suffers from fits, and his trust in her, even when her visions seem the most weird and unlikely. But what I could not get over in Unhooking the Moon was the unlikeliness of  the story; the wacky twists got in the way of making the plots believable. Yet there are moments of brilliance in the writing, particularly in Rat and Bob’s dialogues and more general musings. Rat is utterly bonkers and brings a comical edge to the story and yet her vulnerability is such at times that it brought tears to my eyes. So really there are a lot of wonderful things about this book. But I did close it after the last page and thought to myself “it would never happen” and that spoilt it for me; I think maybe that it is because many of the things portrayed in the story are very real and therefore the little bits of wackiness did not fit in. I guess I’d rather it was all real, or all wacky (à la The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon). But don’t let my uncertain opinion put you off reading this book. There are some truly magical parts in it, and there have been so many 100% positive reviews about it, that it would be a shame not to give it a try.

Sent for review by publisher

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4 Comments

  1. I really loved this book! I thought it was original, quirky and a hell of a lot of fun! I don’t really care that it might never happen… it’s fiction – it’s not really meant to.

    But it is based on a lot of Hughes’ own experiences of being homeless etc..

    I just thought it was really different from a lot of kids books out there today 🙂

  2. The criticisms were quite valid. The thing is it’s suppose to be an urban fairytale and so some things are a little bit hard to believe. But I think kids will enjoy the story and the characters: especially the Rat. But an excellent review Five Stars!

  3. I like this term “urban fairytale”! And yes, coming from this angle, it makes perfect sense.
    As I said, this certainly does not take away from the quality of the writing which is superb! :0)

  4. i just love this book but the ending is quite depressing.I really feel like crying when rat was admitted in a hospital..it would be better if they both lived happily with their uncle.still it was a masterpiece

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