I recently finished reading this beautiful book called “When the Moon was Ours” by author Anna-Marie McLemore. It’s quite different from the genre of books that I usually prefer- dystopian science fiction and fantasy. Set in a very calm, quite town located close to the bank of a river, this story pulled me deeper into the world of magical realism. I’d only gotten a glimpse of the style and content with The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender, but this book just took it to the next level.
Not only is it beautifully diverse in its characters and its setting, it is also so poetically written that every sentence melted into me. It was like having honey poured down my mind, it felt like eating a really warm and soft bar of chocolate- sweet and bitter and so, so, so smooth. Like every other story I’ve ever picked up, When the Moon was Ours is also so much more than just the boy who paints moons and the girl who grows roses.
It’s a story about the secrets we keep so buried within that they turn to icicles, poking at our skin and slashing at our veins, making life a little hard every moment. It’s about the lies we tell- to ourselves and to the world- lies we wish we could believe, lies that turn harmless petals to shards of glass in our fingers. It’s about the stars we look at, the moon we depend on to light our way in the darkness, the water that touches our lives and makes it magical, the butterflies that leave a bit of themselves on our fingers every time we touch them.
And more than anything, this story is about learning to understand who you are. It’s about learning to love who you are and accept who you are. And it’s about being that person without fear, without shame and without guilt.
In today’s world when a person’s every choice is thrown into the spotlight and judged by millions, I felt like this book was a soft touch of comfort, like a hand on my back, holding me steady, telling me it was alright to be different and odd and judged, as long as I really knew who I was.
Who anyone choses to be, what anyone choses to be called, what anyone choses to do with their bodies, who anyone choses to love….it really is none of the our business. We cannot take what’s not ours from anyone….and, well, that includes someone’s freedom, doesn’t it?
In the light of recent events happening all around the world, I think a book like this throws light into the minds of people the world is so reluctant to accept. And maybe if we know them inside out, it might become a little easier to understand them and accept them. Maybe.
We all have out bloody roses and glass moons that we keep hidden under our sleeves and in our closets. But we get so lost in our own misery that we sometimes forget that every house has a closet and every closet has its own moons. This book reminded me of all this.
I would recommend this as a must read to all of you. It’s beautiful, it’s got an interesting plot, it’s got amazing characters – diverse and complex and the author does not whitewash the book and it does help that reading it literally feels like sinking into warm water.