September 6th 2012
Hot Key Books
When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever present oppressive forces of The Motherland.
Friendship and trust inspire Standish to rise up against an oppressive regime and expose the truth about a planned moon landing in this original and spellbinding book.
I don't really know what I thought about this book, what to think about it now. Which probably isn't the best thing, considering I'm writing a review of it. Might actually want to get my thoughts straight. It was just a slightly confusing, weird, incredible book. It's Good-Weird as opposed to WTF-Weird, and it's a really powerful book, it's just that it's taking time for me to digest.
This is definitely the kind of book that if we'd have had to read it at school, I probably would've hated it. It's technically an easy book to read, but not as easy to fully understand, and that would've frustrated me if my sole task with would be to search for meaning more than to simply enjoy it and let the meaning seep in. Though this is a book I can easily see being used in schools, because it's really freaking good, and beautiful, and there are lots of other reasons but SPOILERS (though it's so good you really have to read it you guys)
Standish is Dyslexic, and we see the world from his perspective and, for fear of sounding like a terrible person, I thought that the spelling/grammar mistakes would annoy me, but it was actually fine, and I think made the book better. I was also surprised when I actually found myself liking Standish, as well. Not because he's Dyslexic, but just because I don't usually get male characters as well, and I think that this is a fairly male book. There isn't a romance (or so I say, but there kind of is and it's PERFECT AND SO HEARTBREAKING YOU GUYS), and there's only really one female character that plays a key role in the plot, so I thought I just wouldn't enjoy it. And in a way, I didn't enjoy it, because it's kind of a tough book to read. It's quite upsetting in places, and you may be looking at the cover thinking it looks a bit like it might be for 8-12 year olds, but it really isn't, unless they're mature for their age. That's really my main issue with the book - that it looks like it's for a younger audience than it is.
(obvious paragraph is obvious. If you look at the blurb on her site, it says alternative 1950's Britain. I don't do my research.) I also think that the society and the whole sci-fi aspect of Maggot Moon is really interesting. It's completely different from anything I've read before, and I definitely wouldn't classify it as a dystopian (which I'd kind of thought it was). It's more like a 50's/60's Space Race, Conspiracy Theory, Totalitarian government book. You know, that wildly popular genre. To me (and I could be completely wrong, so take what you will from it) it felt almost like a pseudo-Nazi regime, because there's a lot of stuff about Purity, and the Motherland and it isn't a Nazi book so don't be put off by my view of it, but after having studied Nazi Germany (only at GCSE level, I'm not a bleeding expert) it definitely came across like that. Though it wasn't. I don't know. JUST READ IT. I'M NOT GOOD AT EXPLAINING THINGS.
*Takes a deep breath* Sorry that this is so short, but it's difficult to talk about it without accidentally ruining anything for you. It's a not a super twisty plot, but it's a slow burner and you start off knowing next to nothing about Standish or the world he lives in, and you don't find out that much more about it thoughout the book. You never really find out the cause of how this regime came into power, but at the same time it isn't important, mostly because I don't think Standish really knew how. History is written by the victors, and all that. All that matters is that Standish knows that it's not right.
There was also this series of illustrations throughout the whole book that told a whole story of it's own. There's this rat and this fly, and it was really gross, but kind of fitting really. I feel like it's probably metaphorically important to the plot and the theme of the book, but I haven't figured that one out yet. I only finished the book today, guys! These things take time to ponder. They do add something aesthetically to the book, though, in a weird way, because even though it's kind of gross and made me feel all eugh to look at in places, it just works.
Maggot Moon was just really good. But it's one of those that I didn't really know if I liked it or not until I finished it, and then realised that I'd thought it was amazing the whole time. It's kind of a weird one, and I don't think everyone will like it, but it's a really beautiful story and it made me cry and I want to give to everyone to read so that I can talk to them about the ending without spoiling anything for them.