Friday, 14 August 2009

Friday's Forgotten Book: THE RAGING MOON by Peter Marshall

The Raging Moon was first published in 1964 - 189 pages.

You need a strong stomach for this book as it takes the reader through a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
The book comes in three parts and tells the story of two people. Bruce Pritchard tells his story in the first person while Annette Perel's comes in third person. The reason for this becomes apparent as the story unfolds.
Bruce Pritchard is a young working class lad full of angst and rebelliousness - but don't be misled as this is not a stereotype figure. He lives a normal life with his family and older brother who is about to get married. Make no mistake Bruce enjoys life to the full.
Annette Perel, on the other hand, comes from a middle class 'sensible' background. Her mother is always doing something for the Church and Annette's father is a respected doctor. She is going steady with Jeremy and everyone is waiting for him to propose and for Annette to settle down.
Then tragedy strikes.
Jeremy proposes to Annette.
Bruce is best man at his brother's wedding.
Within hours of each other they are in hospital and both are diagnosed with polio.
Paralysed they are confined to wheelchairs and this is where the second short part of the book deals with how each character copes with their situation.
The third section sees Bruce in a bitter state of mind now transferred to a home run by the church. Visitors come and go leading to a lady commenting "Isn't it nice when people come to visit us. It makes us feel as though we're not entirely forgotten." Like prison visitors is Bruce's opinion.
His anger builds a wall - a prison within a prison. He even clashes with another new arrival Annette Perel. Except that they are kindred spirts and it is not long before she takes his wall apart and they are locked in a relationship.
This third section of the book made it controversial at the time. Disabled people in wheelchairs falling in love and having sex - disgusting was the reaction as though disability means that people aren't human anymore. Well each to their own.
However Peter Marshall deals with these issues sensitively. The author was involved with the working of a care home and writes about his subject with understanding and authority. A brilliant book which contains many issues that still exist forty years on.

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