Picks and Pans Review: The Almost Moon

updated 10/15/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/15/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Alice Sebold |

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"Killing my mother came easily," says Helen Knightly, the well-meaning, utterly damaged narrator of Sebold's second novel. Helen justifiably hates her spiteful mother, but, since her father's suicide, feels obligated to be a part of her life. But after an incident in which the increasingly feeble 88-year-old soils herself (again), Helen snaps and suffocates her with towels. Readers are supposed to root for Helen, but she's tough to like, and she compounds her crime by ensnaring others in the cover-up. Though disappointingly flawed, under Sebold's crafty guidance, Moon is still compulsively readable.

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