I discovered Julia Green’s ‘Blue Moon’ when I went to a secondhand book sale a few weeks back. The central theme of the book was appealing to me and so I thought I will get it. A couple of days back when I thought that I should pick a light novel which can be read quickly, I thought I will read Green’s book. Not exactly because the theme is light – because it is not – but because it is a YA book and so I thought the prose will be simple and the book will be plot-driven and so it will be a quick read. I read most of the book yesterday – yes, it was a quick read. Here is what I think.
‘Blue Moon’ is novel on teen pregnancy. Mia, the heroine of the story is fifteen. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her dad. Her eldest sister is on holiday and will be going to university soon while her middle sister has taken a gap year and is travelling to France and Italy. Mia likes a boy in school called Will and they start going out together. Then one day she discovers that she is pregnant. She doesn’t know whom to talk to, about it – she thinks her dad will get angry at her, Will will stop talking to her and nobody will listen to her point of view. Finally she confesses to her friend Becky and Becky is supportive of her. Mia is undecided on what to do – whether to have the baby, or have the baby and give it up for adoption or have an abortion. Then her dad gets to know Mia’s secret. And as Mia suspects, her dad gets angry at her. He says that she has to get an abortion and he fixes a time at the hospital. But on the day the surgery is expected to take place, Mia decides that she wants to have the baby and become a mother. She runs away from the hospital. After wandering around she ends up meeting two women who have their own boat. They give her shelter in the boat and are initially supportive of her. After a while, however, they say that she has to help them in their work in the boat. Then they start sailing to a new town. What adventures Mia has on the way and whether she has the baby and finds happiness in the end form the rest of the story.
When I started reading ‘Blue Moon’, I was thinking of the movie ‘Juno’. I love ‘Juno’ and have watched it many times. But the central idea of the movie has now become very clichéd after getting repeated so many times in other movies and TV series – a teenage girl gets pregnant, her parents are supportive, her friends are nice to her, she has the baby and then gives it up for adoption and then returns to her former life at school – that I was hoping that ‘Blue Moon’ was not another story like that. Fortunately, it wasn’t. In this story, Mia’s dad is shocked and is angry at her. He takes him a while to understand things from her perspective. Mia feels lost as she doesn’t have anyone to talk to and confide her feelings with. When she is pushed to the extreme (atleast that is the way she seems to look at it) she runs away from home. All these are realistic scenes in the story which make ‘Blue Moon’ different from the typically hunky-dory teenage pregnancy novel.
I loved the first part of ‘Blue Moon’ till the time when Mia runs away from the hospital. This part, though it was plot driven, had many beautiful sentences. Like this :
She imagined spitting the words out, bouncing them over the hard floor, translucent like marbles, each one with its coloured spiral trapped inside.
And this :
She opened the back door to let the cat in and then stepped right out on to the wet grass. The cold stung her bare feet, but she liked the feeling : sharp, more alive.
And this :
There was a shadow over the garden now. The day had lost its shine, its early morning promise.
And this :
Water drops flew off its fur in a perfect circle of fine spray.
And this :
She knocked the soap into the bath by mistake and it slipped like a fish in her hands as she tried to scoop it back up.
Simple sentences which describe everyday scenes, but they are so beautiful aren’t they? It looked like Julia Green had spent time polishing these simple sentences with a lot of love and made them shine.
My favourite lines from the second part of the book were these :
It was cold this morning, although the sun was shining through a thin veil of cloud. She could see her breath. White puffs of smoke. Dragon’s breath, they used to call it on frosty mornings when they walked down the lane to the primary school…
I didn’t love the second part of the book as much, but I still liked it. It was interesting and Mia’s evolution as a person through the second part of the story was quite nicely told.
The title of the book is from a W.H.Auden poem (I tried finding out the name of the poem, but it became quite complicated and so I won’t get into it here), the lines of which go like this :
But once in a while the odd thing happens,
Once in a while the dream comes true,
And the whole pattern of life is altered,
Once in a while the moon turns blue.
Well, you can imagine what must have happened at the end of the story. The moon does turn blue. To find out in detail what that means, you should read this book.
I discovered to my pleasant surprise that Julia Green has written a sequel to this book called ‘Baby Blue’. I hope to read that sometime.
Have you read ‘Blue Moon’ or any other books by Julia Green?