Elizabeth Cox weaves a tale of suspicion and lies in THE SLOW MOON,
the story of a teenage girl who is gang raped in a small southern
town. Sophie lost her father a few years ago, and now she and her
mother have moved away from their hometown to escape the memories
that remained after her father's passing. In her new surroundings
she's slowly gaining acceptance from the kids at school and finds
that she's becoming popular (at least with the boys). She comes
across as precocious, and at times one wonders if she does indeed
understand how her behavior is attracting and frustrating the
teenage boys at school. Many think she is older and the girls eye
her with suspicion.
Crow is a few years older than Sophie. He's a guitarist in a rock
band, hoping to win a "battle of the bands" contest that may make
them all famous. They meet one day when another boy, Bobby, invites
Sophie to watch them practice. Bobby already has his eye on Sophie
and quietly claims her for himself. But when Sophie meets Crow for
the first time, she knows she wants him. Bobby has a hard time
letting go, although there was never any relationship between the
two of them to begin with.
Crow and Sophie start dating, but it's not until a few months later
that they decide to take the plunge. On a spring night during a
party held at a friend's house, Sophie and Crow walk alone outside
into the dark woods and begin making out. When Sophie realizes he
doesn't have a condom, he pulls out (having already initiated
intercourse) and promises her he'll retrieve one from his car. It
is during the 20 minutes he's away that a group of men arrive and
take advantage of Sophie, who eventually blacks out and can't
remember anything about that night.
Crow returns to the scene, finding Sophie unconscious, and panics.
He knows he'll be the first to be accused of this heinous crime, so
he covers her up and runs away. Crow is later arrested, as he is
the last person to have seen her before she was raped.
The bulk of the story delves into each of the main characters'
backgrounds, focusing on each boy or adult one at a time --- people
who will come into play during the investigation of Sophie's rape.
The novel is not told in a linear fashion; it jumps around in time
from one character to the next, giving the story a feeling of
suspense. Readers will want to try to figure out who may have
committed this horrible crime as they get to know each character in
After the crime is committed, Sophie refuses to speak and claims
she doesn't recall much of that night. It is only a matter of time
before she remembers who assaulted her, and the suspense mounts as
the townspeople wonder if her rapists were strangers passing
through town or men known to them all.
This book introduced me to Elizabeth Cox. While at first I wasn't
sure where the story was leading me, by the end I knew that I
definitely would seek out more of this author's work. Her writing
has a unique feel to it, having been compared to the likes of Alice
Hoffman. Readers will enjoy THE SLOW MOON for its intriguing story
and the skill and complexity of Cox's writing.
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton on January 23, 2011
The Slow Moon