I don’t often put reviews on this blog and I’m not sure this is a review – more of a burst of enthusiasm about a new discovery. I’ve just read Jackie Morris’ book East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I had no preconceived ideas, despite knowing and loving Jackie’s picture books , this was something new – I wasn’t even sure if this was a book for children. Even the small storm of protest about references to drug addiction and prostitution passed me by until someone mentioned them on Facebook. I read the book, not sure what to expect – poetry, beauty?
It is beautiful – of course, it’s a jewel of a book. It is lyrical, Jackie has a painters way with language that colours a page much as she would a canvas. But it’s the story that is the real treasure of this book. I was totally swept into the tale. I read the book in an evening, I couldn’t put it down. I huddled in my chair and devoured it. It’s fresh and bold – the twists and turns are surprising and I found myself applauding the clever context – the seamless blending of old and new. It’s a retelling of a fairytale but Jackie has made it her own and gifted it to us.
I loved its tenderness – there’s a line in the book , ‘My mother gave me no advice, just the means to see in the dark’, for me, that sums up the book. It’s a map for life. I can’t say more without giving away the end but the confusion of love, of the paths we choose for ourselves, of the complexities of all our relationships are there, honest and glorious. I want to give a copy to every woman I love – this book is a treasure.