Beneath A Meth Moon

Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she’s still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel’s new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past.

When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she immediately falls under its spell, loving the way it erases, even if only briefly, her past. But as she becomes alienated from her friends and family, she becomes a shell of her former self, and longs to be whole again. With help from an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee, she’s able to begin to rewrite her story and start to move on from her addiction.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 3

2 thoughts on “Beneath A Meth Moon

  1. Meagan Gallagher says:

    I have just recently read Jacqueline Woodson’s novel, Beneath A Meth Moon. After finishing this read in just a few days I was utterly impressed. My purpose for having chosen this young adult novel as oppose to others on this resourceful site was because the brief summary sparked my interest. I have previously taken a course in literacy studies where my professor experienced the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina first hand. She gave an inspirational lecture on her experience helping students and families come together after such a catastrophic event. Her story really touched me and after reading the summary of Beneath A Meth Moon, I wanted to read what this author had to offer about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Although the story is fictional, I chose it because reading a story based on a catastrophic storm I have seen take place interested me. In addition to the geographic setting of the story, I wanted to read this novel because I have heard Jacqueline Woodson is a great author. After reading this novel, I couldn’t agree more.
    One book that came to mind while reading Beneath a Meth Moon was Kate DeCamillo’s Tiger Rising. I’ve recently read Tiger Rising and found that the character Rob is quite similar to Laurel in Woodson’s novel. Both protagonists suffered a tragedy, loss of a loved one(s). Seemingly, Laurel and Rob both portrayed difficulty coping and recovering from their loss. Rob’s emotions were bottled up inside of him and Laurel’s were pushed to the back of her mind with the help of drugs. I can understand the purpose for having both of these novels read in an adolescent classroom.
    For me, Beneath A Meth Moon was not only a quick, easy read but an emotional one as well. As a student not too far out of high school, I was able to connect to the novel and draw the connection between Laurel Daneau and teenagers in today’s society. The story addressed issues many teenagers may encounter in their adolescent years; close friendships, first love, tragedy, abandonment, loss, isolation, drugs, poor decisions, self-doubt, insecurities, and addiction.
    As I was reading this book I was constantly wondering if the author was going to tell me exactly how Laurel’s mother and “M’lady,” had passed. I was also surprised to see that there was no mention of the storm by its name, Hurricane Katrina; however, the way the author’s craft described the catastrophe, there was no need. I believe this book would definitely provoke discussion among many topics; specifically, communication within families. I believe students who read this book are likely to be at the stage of their life where communicating with parents is not easy, nor desired. Laurel’s inability or lack of trying to communicate her feelings with her family got the best of her and steered her (along with T-Boom) towards meth.
    I admired how Jacqueline Woodson created two scenes where Laurel, after realizing she had a problem with drugs, relapsed and returned to her addiction. It could be simple for an author to construct a plot where the protagonist develops a drug addiction then gets clean and the problem is resolved. Woodson, however, takes on a more realistic outcome and shows Laurel escaping her saddened father and rehabilitation center to find the company of meth. Teenage students should be exposed to the realization that addictions are not simply overcome overnight; yet, with communication and a desire to live, they are something that can be worked on. After the story ends I like to believe that Laurel puts her brother and father first in her mind as well as herself and stays clean and in recovery. Woodson doesn’t exactly satisfy the reader with a “happy ending,” but she leaves it up to the reader to decide what happens after Laurel proudly takes Jesse Jr. to school everyday.
    I truly enjoyed reading Beneath A Meth Moon and am already researching my next Jacqueline Woodson young adult novel to read.

  2. Brittany Villafana says:

    I have recently read Under A Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson. I selected this text because the title was intriguing and I had wanted to know more. After reading the short review/ summary of the book, I was interested in reading this novel. During reading I found myself thinking back to Tiger Rising another book with a troubled main character. I found the main protagonist Laurel to be in ways very parallel to the main character of Rob in Tiger Rising. Both characters were holding on to a lot of pain after the loss of their mothers. Laurel dealt with her pain differently though, because she relied on the escape of drugs to push down her pain and make her feel numb. While the author does not tell you straight away that her mother has passed, you do know that she is gone and gives the reader short pieces of memory that Laurel still holds on to. As you are reading, you are not quite sure if the mother has abandoned the family or has passed away. Like Rob, the loss of Laurel’s mother has affectedly her profoundly; she takes on somewhat of a mothering role to her brother. Her father while present does not seem to provide emotional support to Laurel, and therefore this may have been the catalyst for her subsequent drug use. Woodson’s writing is extremely poignant, while she takes great care with the sensitivity of her topic of drug use, she does not make light of it. Laurel follows the path of a typical drug addict, ultimately running away and living on the streets. This topic is important to touch on, especially with young adults because it is essential for them to see how drugs can ruin and even end your life. I feel that this book and the characters within are extremely relatable in one way or another because all young adults go through familiar rites of passage, making lasting friendships, finding a first love, becoming part of a school community. Students will be able to relate because this may be a time in their lives when communication with parents may be a low point. I think an excellent idea would be for both a parent and their child to read this book and discuss it, because it certainly raises good points and leave the conversation open to the topic of dealing with peer pressure. A child needs good parental support to help them make smart decisions, and they definitely need to be informed and not sheltered from these realities. In fact, the more a child knows the better their decision will ultimately be. In the classroom, I can see this book being part of a book set, with the teacher choosing novels in which young people face struggles as they are growing up. This book and others similar to it can really pave the way for great conversation into the issues which are facing our students today, and addressing the common problems which students may deal with on a daily basis. Woodson’s book is also a great example of writer’s craft, because of the way she writes in an almost poetic fashion.
    After finishing this book, you do hope the Laurel will stay clean and live a productive, normal life. The end sets it up that she “escaped” from drugs, while others may have been not so lucky. In the classroom, you could also have a discussion on what students think will happen to Laurel now that she is off of drugs. Overall I feel this book should be shared whether in the classroom or at home, and is definitely a notable piece of literature.

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