Moore, Lisa. Alligator. New York: Black Cat Publishing, 2005.
Reason read: In Newfoundland they celebrate Orangemen’s Day and the Battle of the Boyne in July, specifically on the 12th.
Alligator’s strength as a first novel lies in its character development. Each chapter is dedicated to a different person loosely connected to the one before. Beverly and Madeleine are sisters. Colleen is Beverly’s daughter. Isobel is Madeleine’s friend. You get the point. Every character is flawed and vulnerable in their own way.
My favorite element to the book was how sharply Moore brought grief specifically into focus. When Beverly loses David to a sudden brain aneurysm her numb emptiness is palpable. These simple lines illustrate the heaviness of loss, “More than once she noticed orange peels next to her lawn chair and realized she was already eaten the orange” (p 49) and “David was dead but she would apply mascara” (p 54).
My least favorite aspect to the plot was the unexpected brutality of some of the characters. This was a much darker novel than I expected.
Quotes to quote, “Somehow Beverly has raised a daughter whose voice can be shrill as a fire alarm” (p 22), “Flexibility meant a prismatic comprehension of all aspect of experience” (p 68), and “You store your saddest memories in your feet, she said” (p 186).
Author fact: Moore also wrote February. I will be reading that one in a few years.
Book trivia: Alligator is Lisa Moore’s first novel.
Nancy said: Pearl was actually gushing about Moore’s other novel, February, and only mentioned Alligator as an aside.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the super obvious chapter called “Newfoundland” (p 153).