Beneath a Meth Moon – Jacqueline Woodson

Beneath a Meth Moon

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Beneath a Meth Moon is Laurel’s story of addiction, loss, the horrors that life can show you and the hope that can save you. Laurel’s entire life is shattered when Hurricane Katrina rips her home away from her, as well as her mother and grandmother. Although she, her brother, and her father drove to safer ground, her mother and grandmother chose not to leave and it cost them their lives. Riddled with pain and loss, Laurel must make a new life for herself without two of the most important people to her still in it. They stay with her aunt for a while, but finally move on and settle in Galilee. Laurel meets a girl named Kaylee who encourages her to try out for the cheerleading team and they become good friends. Unfortunately, the pain is never far from her mind and when she is introduced to meth for the first time by T-Boom (the instant love of her life, in her mind) she tries it and becomes hooked.
The story is heartbreaking and harrowing. Laurel’s life revolves around meth and her need for it, as everything else falls to the wayside. The fact that T-Boom cooks his own and gives her ready access doesn’t help. Her life spirals, her friends and family fall away, and all that is left is the addiction. Eventually, she ends up on the street begging for money from strangers to fuel her addiction and give her the release that her body now craves. Almost the entire book takes place in a dark space, with the need and control of meth. There are even some moments that make you wonder what else Laurel has been subject to that wasn’t explicitly described in the book. For example, she says “It made me feel good that he didn’t like girls, wouldn’t try to be getting something out of me” (p. 121). It alludes to at least the idea that she may have traded something other than money for the meth, or at least it was suggested that she could. It doesn’t make for a very uplifting book until the very end, where we see a ray of hope.
Unfortunately, drugs are a huge problem today and the epidemic of addiction is just growing. Without Moses and the love of her family, Laurel may not have been able to escape – but not everyone has that and even those that do, might not have the strength to break free. This story is a poignant look at the horrors that drugs might inflict upon a person and a society. I hope that Laurel’s story, while dark, also has the hope and empowerment in it to inspire others that might be facing their own addictions and struggled to face them and walk out the other side, free.

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