Picks and Pans Review: The Pull of the Moon
The strength and precision of novelist Elizabeth Berg's prose tugs readers into The Pull of the Moon. She writes vividly about the inner life of Nan, her main subject, who has left her family and her home near Boston to travel across country and to come to grips with turning 50. But our interest wanes as it becomes clear that Nan is fundamentally uninteresting.
She's a whiner, always railing about a husband too absorbed in his work to talk about his emotions, and her ideas are a catchall of pop-feminist clichés: Girls are cheated in the classroom by boy-centric teachers; by the-time the girls reach their teens, they've been dissuaded from adventurous careers; as young women they're helpless prey for sexually predatory men.
Most frustrating of all is Nan's inability to improve her lot. Mourning her "change of life" and the loss of attention from men, Nan loathes her waist-high cotton panties as symbols of her reduced sexual status. So why doesn't she throw them out and buy some bikini-cut briefs? Berg shows considerable writing talent but in Moon, common sense—the sort that women of a certain age often have in abundance—is at low ebb. (Random House, $21)