Alabama Moon by Watt Key


       fivegold.jpg  Five well-deserved stars

      10-year-old Moon lived a life very different from other people.  He and his father lived in an isolated shelter that was covered with dirt and trees -  virtually impossible for anyone to detect - purposely hidden deep in a seemingly abandoned forest.  They had few traces of modern life - no electricity or running water, no store bought food, medicine, etc.  They survived by living off the land.  Moon never really questioned why they lived this way - he never knew anything different.  He did know that his father said they should never trust the government. 

Moon’s father taught him how to survive on his own, and said Moon should live in Alaska (far away from civilization) if anything ever happened to him.  He wanted him to find a place where other people distrusted the government also and were self-reliant.

Moon’s father held to his beliefs until he died.  His death from a broken leg could have easily been prevented with modern medicine or surgery, but he refused to re-enter society to seek treatment.  Suddenly Moon is all alone and unprepared to function in the modern world.

After Moon buries his father, he’s discovered by a man who has built a home on the same property as Moon and his father’s cave.  Life for Moon is turned upside down when he is sent to a group boy’s home.  

Unable to cope with all the changes and forced rules, Moon decides to escape.  His survival skills enable him to outrun and “whip” up on anybody - no matter their age or size.  Though he has what it takes to live on his own, Moon finds out being alone can actually be very lonely.  And though Moon does not need anyone else to help him live, he wants love, affection, and friendship.

Moon realizes that maybe, just maybe, his Pa was wrong all along.

I could write pages and pages about this incredible story.  Moon is very rough around the edges, but you can’t help but cheer him on throughout the story.  You want him to find happiness and your heart aches for the struggles he has to face when he must live in a world vastly different from his own.  The ending of this book is perfect, and (get ready) may make you shed a tear or two. 

I admire the creativity of this book and the original plot.  This book is the best novel I have read in a long time - truly amazing.