The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

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Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

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Buy The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Emotional, gripping and honest, The Original Ginny Moon is one of a kind.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: June 2017
Publisher: HQ Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848456617

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To Ginny, a child with autism, the word Forever means until the police come. Five years ago the police forcibly removed her from the home of her abusive birth mother, Gloria. Now fourteen, and in her fourth Forever Home, Ginny remains hell-bent on finding her way back to Gloria's apartment. She has no illusions about her mother's addictions or lack of parenting skills. She knows that it might be dangerous – that it might even kill her. Still she plots, obsessed with returning to Gloria's to find something she insists she left behind, something she hid under her bed. Her teachers, therapist, and new Forever Parents are in turn frustrated, infuriated, and perplexed. As Gloria returns to her life, the reader follows Ginny on a journey filled with danger and discovery, in her quest to find a place she can truly call her Forever Home.

I've had a tricky relationship with books that are told through the viewpoint of a child in the past. Room by Emma Donoghue was a well-told story, but the child's voice that the story was written in was a hard one for me to become attached to – and I had similar issues with The Bear by Claire Cameron. In The Original Ginny Moon however, telling the story through the viewpoint of a child works fantastically well, and swiftly puts the reader in the unique and fascinating mind-set of Ginny. Comparisons can definitely be drawn to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time due to the fact that both books feature autistic children, but Ginny is a distinct and original character in her own right, with a tale that is immensely personal and surprisingly emotional making it easy for the reader to root for her from page one.

Author Benjamin Ludwig adopted an autistic child, and his story is taken in part from his own experiences, but also those of other parents he met whilst attending the sports sessions which his daughter attended. As such, you may think that this would be a happy, uplifting read – but instead the author allows a raw, vulnerable undercurrent to thread through this read – and whilst the prose flows wonderfully, it can make this a book which is a little difficult to read at times – Ginny's autism providing a brutally honest lens to address issues such as chid abuse, abandonment, and animal cruelty.

This certainly isn't the sort of misery memoir that invaded the shelves of bookshops the world over a decade ago though – the themes of adventure, discovery and growth that are present in this book prevent it from becoming miserable and allow the reader to root hard for Ginny as a character as she prevails through the various things that life throws at her, and her presence is such a vital and strong one to the reader that it's easy to forget quite how well drawn other characters depicted here are too – the fact that Benjamin Ludwig has drawn from real life is present in the complex, flawed and relatable cast which he assembles round Ginny – even down to characters such as Gloria and Crystal (with a C) who, in a lesser author's hands, could easily have been turned into caricatures rather than the true and sympathetic people who appear here.

A read that will keep you hooked with a fascinating lead character and a unique style of story telling, The Original Ginny Moon isn't afraid to be brave or troubling, and as such is an emotional read that I'll certainly remember for a long time. Beautifully told and sensitively crafted, The Original Ginny Moon is just that – truly one of its kind.

Many thanks to the publishers for the copy – for further reading I recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon for a very different style of tale that addresses autism in a relatable and endlessly readable fashion.

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Buy The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig at Amazon.com.

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