Moon Pie ISBN: 9780385618519
Published by David Fickling Books, 2011
When we first meet Martha, her five year old brother Tug, and her father, they seem a happy family in spite of the fact that mum has died two years before of a sudden illness. But there are some strange undertones. Dad is acting peculiarly, not all the time, but often enough to take him to the doctor regularly, and Martha seems to be doing all the caring - cooking and looking after Tug and the house. She is, in fact, the mainstay of the family, which is a big job for an eleven year old. As the novel moves on, the scene darkens, and it becomes apparent that dad is an alcoholic, and he is getting worse. There are two horrendous episodes, the first when the children find dad out cold on the living room carpet in the midst of his own sick and urine. They manage to clean him up as he sleeps and even sleep with him on the floor that night. Dad is terribly sorry afterwards, and Martha hopes he has learned his lesson. But there is worse to come. He drives while drunk and almost kills Martha. It is only when Martha manages to reject him and wants no more to do with him that he finally faces his alcoholism and disappears. The two children go to live with their very strict grandparents and try to forget their dad, but when he reappears a year later, it takes much time and effort for the children to trust again. The happy ending is not unexpected, but might be considered a trifle too hopeful. Nevertheless, this is an excellent description of the effect of alcoholism on a family and the damage it does to all concerned. A long novel, but easily read, and the characterizations are excellent.