Review Blog

Mar 31 2011

The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein

cover image

Faber, 2010. ISBN 9780571259489.
The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein is a book set in the nineteen sixties in an all girl's boarding school. The narrator is asked permission to publish the diary written by herself at 16 by her psychiatrist, and so the journal begins with her return to boarding school. This is probably a form of abandonment by her mother as they both try to deal with the suicide of the father, a noted poet. The journal records her emotions as her close friendship with Lucy is disrupted by the arrival of a new boarder. The girl's story slips in and out of reality, where dreams might be real and observations a form of jealousy, obsession or even delusion. Over time, the narrator comes to believe that Ernessa, the interloper, is a vampire draining the life and energy from Lucy. Through strange events, such as the violent death of a teacher's dog, then a student and a teacher, the narrator believes that Ernessa's consumption of Lucy is the true reason for the tragedies, and can only end when Lucy dies. The paranoia and introverted voice of the narrator is confusing and disturbing, and the fascination with death and suicide suggests its suitability for mature senior female students. With a movie about to be released, it would make a challenging senior study.
Margaret Clarke

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