Friday, April 6, 2007

Just a word about sweet Alabama Moon

This title was on my assigned listening list, even though I struggled mightily to evade it. I had read, and enjoyed, the book last fall; but initially felt it was too young for YALSA listeners. And I do have a built-in bias about listening to something I've already read. I'd rather not.

Later -- before beginning listening -- I was rethinking the audience question: This is a ostensibly a story of a 10-year-old boy whose father abandons the conventional world to live in the woods and raise his son. The father dies early in the story, leaving young Moon to fend for himself. Through a series of encounters with both adults and young boys, Moon finds that while he can do just fine subsisting as his father did; yet unlike his father, he craves companionship. I found the storytelling to be quite compelling, and the struggle of Moon to find his place in the world to be a universal one -- appealing to teens who could look beyond the age of the protagonist. As written, Moon is a highly sympathetic character. Put this in the hands of upper elementary school boys.

So I began listening to Nick Landrum read this story (he kind of looks like a mountain man: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/gvpages/A1682.shtml). He reads with a lovely Southern cadence that puts you right in those warm piny forests with Moon and his friends. He also reads Moon quite young, in my opinion -- with a perfect innocent wonder as he is introduced to modern culture. But this, in turn, reduces its appeal -- and appropriateness? -- to older listeners.

But then, just before I finished it, one of my committee colleagues emails us describing an editing blooper. I had listened to the pertinent part just the night before and it went right by me (I went back and listened again) -- which means, of course, that most listeners will completely enjoy the book. But, it's the kiss of death for Selected Audiobooks ... and for the Children's Notable list -- which it seemed more suited for. Such a shame ...

[That's two big booboos we've found recently on Recorded Books titles ... tsk tsk.)

1 comment:

Watt Key said...

What is the editing mistake you found? I know of one, but you are the first that has mentioned it online. Maybe my publisher knows and hasn't said anything? Funny, I didn't catch it until I heard the audio book and it jumped out like a flare. I thought, surely that was the voice actor messing up. But no, it was in the book like that.