When The Moon Was Ours is one of the most-mentioned magical realism books and I’d been meaning to read it for a long time. What really won me over was the beautiful cover and mention of roses growing out of a girl’s body.
Miel has roses growing out of her wrist and Sam paints moon which shine on their own. Both different to the others in the town, and best friends. The Bonner Girls, four sisters, decide they need Miel’s roses and they are willing to do anything to get them.
This book is #ownvoices in Latinx rep.
Let me gather my thoughts.
This book is so difficult to review because the writing was way too lovely. I feel like I am doing it injustice. Just alone the title summarises the beauty of the writing in this book. It’s flowery, mystical and secretive. It may be a minor detail to some readers, but I was intrigued by the chapter titles as they were written in small letters. This led me to analying the chapters a lot more and I kept thinking about why they were written in small letters.
I enjoyed the detail in the descriptions of the roses and the pumpkins. I certainly learnt a lot more about pumpkins! The different types of roses and pumpkins illustrated the different stages in the story. I could spend an entire afternoon analysing the symbolism of the descriptions. There were so many possible meanings!
The characters – wow – the characters were amazingly written and the mysteries surrounding them came to light in unexcepted ways. The use of symbolism and metaphors to describe the characters and their relationships to each other was beautiful. I thought that the Bonner Girls were fascinating and I wanted to understand them on a deeper level, which was acheived at the end of the book. Aracely was another character that I found intriguing – she was so mysterious but yet down to earth and always there to help other people, no matter how they felt about her. It’s a story about accepting your identity and being happy about who you are, and while we see this most in the two main characters, I thought that at the end of the book, several of the minor characters had also acheived this level.
Due to it being a diverse book, there were several characters with marginalisations. Miel and most of the townfolk are Latinx, whereas Sam and his mother are from Pakistan. Sam is transgender. Not only did the main characters have marginalisations but some of the minor and also very minor characters were marginalised as well.
It’s inspired by the story of La Llorana, a weeping woman that drowns her children in a river. I hadn’t heard about this before, so I was very happy to have learnt something new while reading the book.
I did find it rather weird how fast Chloe Bonner’s hair grew – however this could be explained through the magical realism.
When The Moon Was Ours was a delightful read and I think you will enjoy it. It’s has a beautiful love story in it and the writing is so beautiful.
Will I be reading Anna-Marie McLemore again? Yes! For sure. Especially when I feel like sinking in to a beautiful written dream.
Have you read When The Moon Was Ours? Do you have any magical realism stories that you would recommend?