Summary and book reviews of Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Maggot Moon

by Sally Gardner

Maggot Moon
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2013, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2014, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

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About this Book

Book Summary

One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

What if the football hadn't gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn't want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell - who has different-colored eyes, who can't read, can't write, Standish Treadwell isn't bright - sees things differently than the rest of the "train-track thinkers." So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it's big...One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

One

I'm wondering what if.

What if the football hadn't gone over the wall.

What if Hector had never gone looking for it.

What if he hadn't kept the dark secret to himself.

What if . . .

Then I suppose I would be telling myself another story.

You see, the what ifs are as boundless as the stars.

Two

Miss Connolly, our old teacher, always said start your story at the beginning. Make it a clean window for us to see through. Though I don't really think that's what she meant. No one, not even Miss Connolly, dares write about what we see through that smeared glass. Best not to look out. If you have to, then best to keep quiet. I would never be so daft as to write this down, not on paper. .

Even if I could, I couldn't.

You see, I can't spell my own name.

Standish Treadwell.

Can't read, can't write,

Standish Treadwell isn't bright.

Miss Connolly was the only teacher ever to say that ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. At the beginning of the novel, Standish observes that "what ifs are as boundless as the stars" (p. 1). What is the historical "what if" that puts the plot of Maggot Moon into motion? When is this novel set? Where is it set?

  2. "There are train-track thinkers," says Hector, "then there's you, Standish, a breeze in the park of imagination" (p. 4). What does Hector mean? What are the advantages of being a train-track thinker? What are the risks of thinking differently

  3. "Gramps was the only person that still pulled at the gravity in me," says Standish (p. 23). Why is this such an apt description of their relationship?

  4. Standish is an awful reader, an even worse writer, and an all-around terrible student. Why are these advantages for ...
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    Costa Book Awards
    2012

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The political circumstances that gave rise to the classic dystopian novels of the twentieth century are in no way gone from the world. Today's young people have to make sense of grim facts about torture and totalitarianism in the news, so it makes sense to give them books in which to work through these moral dilemmas. Still, Maggot Moon won't be right for every kid, even those who fall into the suggested range of age 12 and up. The kids who do read this will benefit from some serious follow-up conversations with their parents and teachers. With the right perspective, there is something transcendent, even ebullient, about Standish Treadwell's point of view.   (Reviewed by Jennifer G Wilder).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Despite intentions, this tale never connects past to present, resulting in a book with a message but no resonance.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Although the ending is pure heartbreak, she leaves readers with a hopeful message about the power of one boy to stand up to evil.

Booklist

Starred Review. This is alt-history second; first, it is an eerie, commanding drama.

The Bookseller (U.K.)

This novel will just blow you away...Such a beautiful read...this certainly has the potential to become a modern classic.

The Sunday Times (U.K)

Startlingly original, sophisticated and moving, Maggot Moon is out of this world.

Author Blurb Meg Rosoff
Dazzling, chilling, breathtaking. A perfect book.

Reader Reviews

Diane S.

Maggot Moon
I have to admit I have never read anything like this book before. A Nazi regime type society in the fifties, in Great Britain where the country is divided into zones but where an amazing young man, who also happens to be dyslexic and not overly ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

A Look at Dyslexia

DYS- (bad, Greek) LEXIA (language, Greek)

A German ophthalmologist named Rudolph Berlin coined the word dyslexia in 1887 to describe patients who, in spite of normal intelligence, had extreme difficulties with reading. Scientific discussion of the phenomenon of what was also called "word blindness" emerged in the late nineteenth century, but the term dyslexia has only become widely accepted in the fields of education and psychology in the last fifty years. It has come to be an umbrella term for a range of problems in the use and decoding of written language, one of the disorders educators have come to call "learning disabilities" along with dysgraphia (writing impairment) and dyscalculia (math impairment).

Dyslexia is known to be a ...

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