Total Pageviews

Friday, May 2, 2014

Moon at Nine, written by Deborah Ellis. Pajama Press, 2014. $19.95 ages 14 and up

"Pargol stepped closer, so that she was breathing right on Farrin. "You forget that you are no one," she said. "You think you are someone, with your new friend and your dumb little story about demons. You think your illusions will protect you. I can crush you any time I feel like it." "You seem shorter," Farrin said. "Did I grow a little, or did you shrink?"

Farrin's life in Tehran following the revolution is entirely controlled by others. Her mother wants to keep her away from contact with other people in hopes that no one will learn of the family's support for the Shah and his family, who were ousted from power ten long years ago. Her father garners great wealth by using Afghan workers as slave labor, paying them little and threatening them to keep them in line. The principal at her private girls' school supports the revolution and sets up monitors to keep careful watch on the girls under her supervision. Pargol, one of those powerful and fear-inducing monitors chooses Farrin as a target for her bullying.

She lives in isolation, until she meets Sadira and begins to believe that her life might be different. As the girls grow to know one other, their relationship becomes a romantic one. Homosexuality is a sin, and if discovered the young women will be sentenced to death. Despite that threat, they find ways to be together. Sadira brings love and happiness to Farrin's lonely existence. Both believe that their love will find acceptance in a country filled with prejudice and injustice. When they are discovered by Pargol, and reported to the principal, their parents are called and informed of their illicit love affair.

They will soon learn just how wrong they were. They are separated, and jailed. Both await death. It is evident to readers that women account for little within the country of their birth. They are both helpless, and without any power. It is Farrin's wealth that accounts for the tragedy that is her sentence, and Sadira's lack of wealth that ensures her destiny.

Deborah Ellis creates characters who elicit strong feelings in her readers. She has based her new book on a true story that serves to remind us that, while we may be making some strides toward acceptance and support for the gay community, there remain many places in the world where homosexuality is punishable by death, no matter the age of those discovered. It is a painful story to tell, and to read.
As she did with The Breadwinner (Groundwood, 2000), Ms. Ellis informs her audience of world politics and takes a look at the harsh reality of being young and in love in an unjust world. 

No comments:

Post a Comment