by Judith Hayn
Woodson, J. (2012). Beneath a meth moon: An elegy. New York, NY: Nancy Paulsen Books.
Laurel Daneau at 15 has survived a hurricane by fleeing Pass Christian, Mississippi, with her Daddy and baby brother, Jesse, Jr. However, her beloved mother and grandmother who stayed behind did not. The grieving trio winds up in Galilee, Iowa, where Laurel finds a best friend, a spot on the cheerleading squad, and a boyfriend who is the basketball team captain. T-Boom introduces her to meth, and Laurel begins to drown in the drug just like her mother and M’Lady did in the storm. Meth is the moon, and it takes the user higher and higher before plunging her into the abyss. Laurel runs away from home and lives in an unheated room in an abandoned hardware store where she begs on the street for the moon is her only goal. She meets Moses Sampson, a young street artist, who commemorates dead meth users in murals commissioned by the survivors. His mother was a methhead, so he knows the drill. This is must read for teens but also for those of us who work with and care about them. Woodson’s lyricism and use of interlocking flashbacks in this first person narrative does not sugarcoat the addiction, its effects, or the aftermath.
Dr. Judith A. Hayn is an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
This article is part of a series from the Special Interest Group Network on Adolescent Literature (SIGNAL).
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