Friday, April 10, 2009

BOOK: The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg, 192 pages

herding cats challenge; themed reading challenge: epistolary

Nan, turned fifty and began having a noticeable crisis: she was aging and she didn't know what her life amounted to. She gets in her car and goes on a little vacation away from her life and herself. She writes letters home to her husband about what she is doing and what she wishes they could say to each other. She also writes in a diary about her journey.

Nan discusses many of the pivotal points in a woman's life and talks to a variety of women on her travels. As she says, 'women are filled to the brim", and there is so much just busting to get out. She recognizes that in some ways, she is being indulgent. Nothing bad has happened to her in her life and yet she is still unsettled. I can't write unhappy, because Nan herself admits she wouldn't change her life, her husband or anything she has done. But she has this spiritual journey she needs to take to get to the next point in her life.

This was a lovely book, and many people will relate to parts of it. And I should have written 'women' but it bothered me that this book should mostly appeal to women. It's where the label chick lit comes from, right? - for women, about women and 'their' problems. But I just finished De Niro's Game, a book about a man, and war, that was a prize winner (IMPAC Dublin 2008) and suggested as a book that had a meaning for everyone. Why is a book about men and their journey and experience a book for everyone to read, while an equally enjoyable book about women only really thought of as for women? Maybe I'm hypocritical as well though. I read Gilead, an introspective journey about a man and I couldn't identify with it at all. I was thinking about the difference between men and women and the books they read and write after this discussion at library thing about the maleness of the nominees for the IMPAC Dublin 2009 shortlist. Then reading these two books in a row (De Niro's Game and The Pull of the Moon) really highlighted this disparity. I don't have any answers yet, just the observations. I'm just glad I can read and appreciate both.


  1. I don't have an answer to your question, but it is a very interesting observation. Off the top of my head, I would say women are more open to learning from the experiences of others of either sex, whereas men tend to only be interested in, well, themselves.


  2. I like your take on this and totally can relate to thinking women are more open to a inward thought invoking adventure, whereas males want to have an adventure, sometimes, without thinking too hard about it. That being said, I really enjoyed your thoughts on this book and can't believe that I haven't read it!!

  3. I wish we could do away with labeling books "for men" or "for women." Especially in this day and age when the majority of the people who read and buy books - and in particular, fiction - are women.

    I think that when it comes to some awards, judges tend to think the epic world-encompassing books like those that deal with war and are very, very generally speaking written by men, are more important than the domestic, personal novels that, again very generally speaking, are written by women. I think they are both equally worth interest and time and it sucks that everyone can't feel the same.

  4. Man, I read Gilead and couldn't relate to that book at all, either, but other people (women) think it is a great book. I think it really depends more on the person than on the gender... I mean, my favourite genre is fantasy and it is a genre that is marketed almost exclusively to men and if it isn't, they are starting to have covers that could easily be mistaken for romance novels. This whole marketing to certain genders actually drives me crazy...

  5. I've asked the same question myself over and over again and I don't have an answer. The Pull of the Moon is a great book. It's one of my favorite reads. I also agree that women would enjoy it more. Is it because most of the characters are women? A woman is on a spiritual journey that doesn't have to do with anything big? I wonder. . .


  6. You bring up a good question. I kind of agree with Lezlie, that women are more open than men when it comes to just about anything.

  7. This definitely sounds like an interesting book. Sorry you didn't relate to Gilead and I know what you mean about chick lit not always appealing to men whereas a similar book about a man has more universal appeal.


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