Friday, November 11, 2011

Undressing the Moon

Rating: Diamond
Piper Kincaid has never been able to forget the summer she turned fourteen--or understand its consequences. At thirty and diagnosed with breast cancer, Piper is drawn back to that time and filled with regret. As she attempts to reassemble the fragments of her history, what emerges is the kaleidoscopic portrait of a young woman whose indefatigable spirit prevails, despite shattered dreams. An evocative, richly-told novel of coming-of-age and coming-to-terms, Undressing the Moon finds grace in wreckage and hope in a broken life
---From Amazon.Com
I always rave about T. Greenwood. She never fails to impress nor does she ever disappoint. Undressing the Moon is an earlier novel of hers that was reprinted because of demand. Every time I go to Barnes and Noble I check to see if she's suddenly released a new book because it seems that is the way I find her. By accident but on purpose. 
Greenwood has a knack for imagery. The colors in this novel are vivid and unique. Piper, the main character, has a voice her mom says is the color of "holiday." Piper's mother makes stained glass art. Throughout the book, Greenwood uses the broken glass, their colors, her mother's art as a symbol for mending broken things. It is all really quite genius. 
Some people might label Greenwood's novels as depressing and heavy, but I feel they are a breath of fresh air. She seems to understand the human condition in ways that only a keen writer can. She said in an interview: "I think that we are all defined, to a certain extent, by our childhoods. My childhood memories are so vivid: the tragedies as well as the happy times. I am who I am because of the sorrows I suffered as a kid as well as the bliss. Fictional characters are no different. I almost never write about adult characters without understanding where it is that they came from. What haunts them...The very nature of narrative is that there needs to be conflict. Problems. Trouble. I simply figure out what my characters' problems are and then see them through them." She tackles sensitive issues delicately and with precision. Nobody wants to read a story about a happy family with no problems. And we all can relate, in some way, to her characters. Sure, I was never abandoned by my parents. Sure, I was never in an intimate affair with a teacher. Sure, I have never had cancer. But I understand the struggle and the fight that Greenwood's characters endure. While her characters may not be likable (I never did side with her protagonist in This Glittering World) and Piper isn't always the ideal, I think that is what makes them human. You find yourself rooting for them simply because you want them to get through. And that is the beauty of Ms. Greenwood. 
Two Rivers still stands as my absolute favorite Greenwood novel, but I cannot say I have a least favorite. They're all excellent. If you're looking for books with depth, beautiful writing, and something to say about human nature, go find T. Greenwood at your local library or bookstore. I gave Undressing the Moon a Diamond Rating. 
Thank you, Ms. Greenwood, for always producing amazing literature. I look forward to reading more of your novels, and I would love to, someday, attend one of your writing workshops so I could glean an inkling of your gift from you.