Maggot Moon Featured

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5.0
 
0.0 (0)
350   0
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 12, 2013
ISBN
978-0763665531
Buy This Book
      

What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the "train-track thinkers." So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big...One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

Editor reviews

“Where and when are we?” These were the questions I kept asking myself as I flew through Sally Gardner’s “Maggot Moon.” Rather than being frustrating, this mystery kept me turning page after page until I could figure it out.

“Moon” follows teenager Standish Treadwell who lives in a country that is ruled by a violent totalitarian government. This government has separated the country, known as the Motherland, into seven zones. Standish lives in the most impoverished of them all. The story focuses on Standish and his best friendship with Hector, and how that friendship is affected by the Motherland’s attempts to be the first country to land on the moon.

I couldn’t figure out whether the Motherland was supposed to be a country set up in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, or horrific fictional past environment. Gardner writes in a way that the story could have fit into all three, and even after finishing the book I feel like the story could still fit into all three categories. This made the story interact with the reader by allowing the reader to shape the details of the story’s environment in their mind’s eye. If you think this is a retelling of the past, you can picture dilapidated mid-twentieth century televisions and furniture as the goods that fill up Standish’s home and school. If you see this as dystopian or post-apocalyptic, these things can have a more futuristic yet still rundown feel. I read the book through both lenses, and regardless of what time I put this in, the messages, heart, and action of the book weren’t affected. I love this chameleon-like quality in Gardner’s writing because it made me as the reader feel like I was shaping the story with her.

I also couldn’t figure out where the Motherland was supposed to be. My first thought was Germany, as there are references to gas chambers the Motherland uses to kill citizens they see as useless. Then I changed my mind and decided Britain because the accents and sayings of the characters seem decidedly British. I did some research and found out that this is meant to be set in a fictional and brutal 1950s Britain, but even knowing that it still seems like Gardner has left the door open for readers to envision this world however they want.

What I liked most about Gardner’s writing was that while the environment and genre felt fluid, Standish is such a solid character that he stands out regardless of the environment he’s placed in. The desperation you feel through him as he sees loved one after loved one harmed by the Motherland, the hope you feel emanating from him for a better future, and the bravery he exhibits in the face of murderous authority are all so strong. Two characteristics stood out to me about Standish in particular: his self-discipline to prevent himself from demonstrating just how smart he truly is in order to be able to blend into the crowd and not draw unnecessary attention to himself, and his unending imagination that surrounds Standish with lovely worlds despite the horror that takes place around him. Standish is a character that really stands out in YA. When I finished “Maggot Moon,” I was in that mode of pensive stunned silence, mulling over the messages of Gardner’s book. Reflecting on the book a few days after finishing it, I find myself slipping back into that pensive mood, and I think that’s the best gift an author can give.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Left Me Stunned in the Best Possible Way

“Where and when are we?” These were the questions I kept asking myself as I flew through Sally Gardner’s “Maggot Moon.” Rather than being frustrating, this mystery kept me turning page after page until I could figure it out.

“Moon” follows teenager Standish Treadwell who lives in a country that is ruled by a violent totalitarian government. This government has separated the country, known as the Motherland, into seven zones. Standish lives in the most impoverished of them all. The story focuses on Standish and his best friendship with Hector, and how that friendship is affected by the Motherland’s attempts to be the first country to land on the moon.

I couldn’t figure out whether the Motherland was supposed to be a country set up in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, or horrific fictional past environment. Gardner writes in a way that the story could have fit into all three, and even after finishing the book I feel like the story could still fit into all three categories. This made the story interact with the reader by allowing the reader to shape the details of the story’s environment in their mind’s eye. If you think this is a retelling of the past, you can picture dilapidated mid-twentieth century televisions and furniture as the goods that fill up Standish’s home and school. If you see this as dystopian or post-apocalyptic, these things can have a more futuristic yet still rundown feel. I read the book through both lenses, and regardless of what time I put this in, the messages, heart, and action of the book weren’t affected. I love this chameleon-like quality in Gardner’s writing because it made me as the reader feel like I was shaping the story with her.

I also couldn’t figure out where the Motherland was supposed to be. My first thought was Germany, as there are references to gas chambers the Motherland uses to kill citizens they see as useless. Then I changed my mind and decided Britain because the accents and sayings of the characters seem decidedly British. I did some research and found out that this is meant to be set in a fictional and brutal 1950s Britain, but even knowing that it still seems like Gardner has left the door open for readers to envision this world however they want.

What I liked most about Gardner’s writing was that while the environment and genre felt fluid, Standish is such a solid character that he stands out regardless of the environment he’s placed in. The desperation you feel through him as he sees loved one after loved one harmed by the Motherland, the hope you feel emanating from him for a better future, and the bravery he exhibits in the face of murderous authority are all so strong. Two characteristics stood out to me about Standish in particular: his self-discipline to prevent himself from demonstrating just how smart he truly is in order to be able to blend into the crowd and not draw unnecessary attention to himself, and his unending imagination that surrounds Standish with lovely worlds despite the horror that takes place around him. Standish is a character that really stands out in YA. When I finished “Maggot Moon,” I was in that mode of pensive stunned silence, mulling over the messages of Gardner’s book. Reflecting on the book a few days after finishing it, I find myself slipping back into that pensive mood, and I think that’s the best gift an author can give.

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