Review of Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer.
I have to admit... about ten pages in, I didn't think I'd like this book.
not sure what it was that made me think that, however, at least not
anymore. Because as I kept reading this book, its claws kept pulling me
deeper and deeper in, until it became a book that I truly enjoyed.
Whatever it was in the first few pages that had me thinking I'd not
finish... long forgotten at this point.
Abby Leigh lives with her
father, her brother Jordan, and her sister Lisette (nicknamed "Toucan"
by a younger Abby). The four live on a small island community off the
shores of Maine. Mom works on the mainland, a long enough commute away
that she stays at their old mainland home during the week and rejoins
the family each weekend.
That all changed when the comet came.
The comet would pass close enough to the Earth that the planet would
travel through its tail, and the space dust was expected to lend a
purple haze to the environment and atmosphere. People celebrated its
arrival with purple drinks, food, clothing... all celebrating a once in a
lifetime event. Abby, Jordan, and their father stay up late to watch
the comet's passing.
The next day, Abby and Jordan wake to learn
that the world has changed forever. Bacteria in the space dust attacks
adult hormones, eventually killing the host. The earth has, overnight,
lost billions of adults and post-pubescent teens. Only younger children
(Abby, Jordan, Toucan, and others in their neighborhood) and those
adults quarantined for various reasons survived.
And survive they
must. There are no adults left to feed them, to grow their food or make
their clothes. Older children must care for the younger children. They
are old enough to understand the robotic voice from the Centers for
Disease Control, sent by quarantined scientists, that aging is more a
death sentence than ever. Now, physical rites of passage into adulthood
spell certain and swift death. And Abby, Jordan, and others know it's
only a matter of time. Can they survive long enough for the scientists
to find a cure? And, if it's found... how will they get it?
someone who has written books, I know that characters drives stories;
it's their experiences in facing and meeting the challenges that come
their way that truly make a story. Magic, killer comets, aliens on other
planets - these are ways to help those characters to experience
something remarkable, and to change accordingly.
What we see in
this story, through the eyes of the children living through it, is that
the human spirit will not give up, and will not quit. Faced with the
deaths of their parents and all other adults, the children do not quit;
they use what they know, what they can learn, and what they can share to
survive. Not only does the human spirit not quit, but it adapts, even
in the youngest. Cramer's story illustrates this well; young children
grieve and experience sadness, but they find it within themselves to
continue to fight and to never, ever quit. They experience horrors -
children having to dispose of the remains of their parents and loved
ones, and eventually each other - that we'd like to shield all children
from. Yet they never quit.
Cramer's book is an enjoyable read, and one that I'm glad I finished. I recommend it.