Alabama Moon


Book Summary/Description:

For as long as ten-year-old Moon can remember, he has lived out in the forest in a shelter with his father. They keep to themselves, their only contact with other human beings an occasional trip to the nearest general store. When Moon’s father dies, Moon follows his father’s last instructions: to travel to Alaska to find others like themselves. But Moon is soon caught and entangled in a world he doesn’t know or understand; he’s become property of the government he has been avoiding all his life. As the spirited and resourceful Moon encounters constables, jails, institutions, lawyers, true friends, and true enemies, he adapts his wilderness survival skills and learns to survive in the outside world, and even, perhaps, make his home there.

Joy’s Review:

This was a very well written tale of a young boy who was raised isolated from everyone but his pap, who taught him not only how to to read and write, but also how to depend on himself in order to live in the wild. Moon’s father had been in the Vietnam War and when he came back he trusted no one, especially the government and anyone of authority. He passed these beliefs onto his son. They depended on hunting, fishing, and the vegetation in order to survive. The thing that he didn’t teach his son about was a realistic view of the world outside of the forest. When he was 10 his father died from an injury which left Moon the task of burying his pap and trying to live by himself. The only instructions he gave his son to do after he died was to move to Alaska where there would be others like them. After confiding what happened to the general store owner that knew he and his pap,and asking him how to get to Alaska, the authorities were called to come and get Moon.

Catching Moon was not an easy task and neither was keeping him from running away again. While he was at a boys home he did meet his first friends, slept in a real bed, and was amazed by the food he was given to eat. This was not a boy that could be “tamed” though. Along with his new friends he ran back into the forest away from authority. His experiences with the outside world really did cause him to contemplate about the things his father had told him and reconsider living a life of reclusion. He longed to find a place that he could tuly belong.

This would be a book I would highly recommend for ages 12 and up. It truly draws you in and makes you feel like you are surviving out there in the woods with Moon! It would be a great read for a child (or adult) that is intrigued with survival skills. The author, Watt Key actually lived out in an Alabama swamp as a part of a school project which obviously helped him with his survival knowledge and the techniques Moon uses in the story.The author does an amazing job of developing the character of Moon and the various people he comes across. The one thing that I would want to disclose is that it has some pretty bad language in it. I normally would limit literature that my soon to be 12 year old was exposed to that had this kind of language, but it really does fit in with the rough character of Moon and the other people he comes across. In my opinion it does not detract from the story at all, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I have to add there is an “Alabama Moon” movie too, but as they say, the book is much better!

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 5, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0374301840
  • ASIN: B001O0EHTA

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  1. Patricia says:

    This is quite a different story. Moon is a very likable character and you really feel the story from his point of view. It really pulls you in, and is very enjoyable! I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

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