Recap: The Eclipse of Mrs. Moon is a captivating story that mirrors abuse and love. Linda is 9 years old when her mother, Carole, packs up their things in the middle of the night and flees their Philadelphia home with her abusive husband, Orton. With Linda in tow, Carole goes to Elm City. While Carole spends the next few days binge drinking, yelling, and trying to set up her tarot card reading business, Linda is befriended by Mrs. Moon, an antique store owner, who lives across the street from her new home.
As time goes on, Mrs. Moon not only gives Linda a paying job at her store, she also feeds and clothes her, plays with her, and teaches her how to love. Though she doesn’t meet Carole for months, it becomes evident to Mrs. Moon that Carole is an emotionally abusive and careless mother. Mrs. Moon becomes a new mother figure for Linda, and when Orton returns from Philadelphia, it’s Mrs. Moon who’s there to protect Linda.
Analysis: The Eclipse of Mrs. Moon is just that — an eclipse. Mrs. Moon overshadows Carole as a parent to Linda. She becomes and more important and more loving figure in the little girl’s life. She introduces Linda to the world outside her broken, unhealthy home — a world with kind friends, gifts for no reason, and love.
It’s a beautiful story, but also one that ends rather abruptly. There is partial closure, and when you feel as though the book is ready to move in a new direction, it simply ends. I had the pleasure of emailing with the author, Virginia Galfo, who told me “I ended it that way because the messiness of life is almost never tied up neatly in a bow.”
Aside from the obvious parallels between Mrs. Moon and Carole, the book also does a good job of displaying two forms of abuse. Orton is the physical abuser. Linda’s mother is abusive emotionally and verbally. Galfo explains:
All abuse is chilling, and Carole, in her pretty skirts and high heels, was just as bad as Orton – only she was Linda’s mother – and mothers are supposed to protect their children, and not use them as bargaining chips for their own advantage.
Galfo also explained why Mrs. Moon was so inclined to help, love, and save Linda.
She takes pity on the little girl for two reasons: she sees that Linda is a shining soul, an innocent, and wants to take her into her heart, and then as she sees the abuse Linda deals with on a daily basis, becomes indignant at the injustice that is dealt to Linda at almost every turn with her mother.
The only small problem is Linda tells the story, but phrases like “At the time I didn’t realize…” imply that it was written as a memoir by an adult Linda. Unfortunately we never get any glimpse at how Linda ended up or what compelled her to write this memoir. We are not outwardly told it’s a memoir; it is inferred, and that’s never quite sewn up.
MVP: Mrs. Moon, obviously. She’s a complex character, who continues to reveal new parts of her personality throughout the novel. But she does it for love and out of the goodness of her heart. We should all be so lucky to have a Mrs. Moon in our lives.