Author: Laura Resau
Publishers: Delacorte Press
Release Year: 2006
Clara Luna’s name means “Clear Moon” in Spanish, but lately her thoughts have been anything but clear. Questions are taking over her mind like tangled weeds— Who is she, really? Where does she come from? After all, Clara doesn’t know much about her father’s side: he had run away from his native home in rural Mexico to cross the border into America as a teenager. Just as Clara is restlessly wondering about her roots and her life, a letter comes in the mail.
La invitamos a nuestra casa por el verano. Vamos a esperarla el dÍa de la luna llena, en junio, en el aeropuerto de Oaxaca.
We invite you to our home for the summer. We will wait for you on the day of the full moon, in June, at the Oaxaca airport.
Now Clara is even more puzzled. Should she go? What are her grandparents like? She’s never met them. Her father is lost in the land of memories, her mother is super-enthusiastic, urging her to discover her history, and Clara is balanced on the edge of a cliff, peering over. She decides to go. And so begins the journey of a lifetime.
Clara’s grandparents await her at the Oaxaca airport— calm, knowing Abuelita and cheerful, good-natured Abuelo. They board a bus that will take them to the village of Yucuyoo, and when they finally arrive, it’s not as Clara expected at all. Though at first Clara is apprehensive, she soon grows used to the wooden little home with the tin roof they live in, the fact that they have no technology at all, the sounds of the jungle nearby, and the delicious food Abuelita prepares fresh everyday. Clara looks and listens and learns. Listens to Pedro, the goat boy’s, beautiful voice and song. To the sound of the mystery spirit waterfall, which is heard but never seen. To Abuelita’s stories of her childhood and learning to be a healer. Slowly but surely, Clara realizes the magic within Yucuyoo, the Hill of the Moon, within her grandparents, and even within herself.
This debut novel from Laura Resau is an enchanting, lyrical book that I absolutely LOVED. Thought-provoking and moving, What the Moon Saw explores the themes of finding one’s self and culture, reconnecting with family, and learning that living simply opens your mind and heart to the magic and beauty of the world. The writing almost takes you to another dimension and paints an intricate and detailed scene of life in rural Mexico, and the characters are all so solid and real. Clara is just an average girl who lives a privileged life in America, and the contrast between Pedro, who grew up in Yucuyoo, and Clara’s lifestyles made for interesting interactions between them. Clara at times has to explain simple technology to her grandparents, and their amazement at the habits of those who have access to modern-day gadgets truly opened my eyes.
Guys, so many people around the world don’t have these things— they don’t have phones, computers, washing machines, cars, refrigerators; things that many of us take for granted. But guess what? You don’t need these to be happy. Clara’s grandparents are perfectly content to live in their village, talk to their neighbours, farm their land. Those of us who do own this technology should use it to make other happy too, don’t you think?
All in all, I thought that this was a beautiful novel. The two narrators, Clara Luna and Abuelita telling the tales of her past, will truly inspire you, and leave you will a heartful of spirit waterfalls, beautiful, wild nature, stories of healing, and hope for all. Definitely a must read.
(On a side note, I am back from my mini-hiatus! Isn’t it funny how you can be so busy when you least expect it?)