Shout Down the Moon
Lisa Tucker's debut novel THE SONG READER was an original and engrossing premise coupled with compelling writing. With that one book Tucker cemented herself as a strong new voice, a talented writer to watch for in the future. Now in her sophomore effort, SHOUT DOWN THE MOON, Tucker proves that THE SONG READER was no fluke; she has more stories to tell.
The main character in SHOUT DOWN THE MOON is Patty Taylor, a young single mother with a painful past who is trying desperately to live in the now and provide for her two-year-old son Willie. "Providing" means singing for a living as the lead vocalist for a band whose members either despise her for lending her name to their band, or ignore her completely for her perceived ignorance about music, or waste their time wagering if and when they can bed her. It is not a happy existence for Patty, traveling from bar to bar with these guys who barely acknowledge her presence, but she reminds herself repeatedly that it is better than her past.
Her past is Rick: her first love and her first reprieve from the abuse she received at the hand of her alcoholic mother. Tucker gives us only glimpses into Patty's childhood after the death of her father, but the peaks are enough to establish the tough times that befell Patty and her mother and the blame that her mother foisted on the young girl. Rick was her knight in shining armor who, at 23, saved her, 15, from her mother's rants about "the sacrifices she had made" and the abuse. He rescued her and gave her safe haven.
"All the rumors about him seemed ridiculous to me now," she said. "A bad guy wouldn't look as vulnerable as Rick did lying on the mattress, telling me that he'd dreamed of this moment when he was a kid." In bits and pieces Tucker reveals that Patty's first love was a drug dealer and that Patty, in her innocence, tried to look past his crimes because he seemed so dear to her, so incapable of doing bad when he was doing nothing but good for her. But there were moments, cruel moments, when his rage showed through and was aimed at her. These moments she eventually could not deny, and when finally he was arrested and sent to jail, she said good-bye to him and her past, and tried to move on.
His return becomes the true turning point in Patty's life. Up until now Tucker has given us a survivor, but when her security and the security of her son is threatened by an unchanged Rick bent on having her back, Patty becomes a fighter. She recognizes his "love" for the obsession it truly is, and by this time has found a new love of her own. The changes in Patty are subtle and gradual, like the changes in her talent, but powerful and, finally, winning. Tucker's love of music, so strongly displayed in THE SONG READER, is here in SHOUT DOWN THE MOON too. And Patty, an okay front singer for an average pop band, evolves into a true artist as her personal strength grows and she faces her fears.
Ultimately, SHOUT DOWN THE MOON is a story of personal growth on the part of someone who didn't even know she had it in her. But once she realizes it, there's no stopping her. Hopefully there's no stopping Tucker, too, and we'll be reading more from her soon.
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on January 23, 2011
Shout Down the Moon
- Publication Date: April 6, 2004
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Downtown Press
- ISBN-10: 074346446X
- ISBN-13: 9780743464468