Book Review: Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Book Rating (out of 5):

Oh, Ginny Moon. What a book! I’ve never read anything quite like it.

Ginny Moon is a 13 year old autistic girl going on 14. But life seemed to stop for her at age 9 when she was taken from her abusive home and placed in foster care. Since then, Ginny has been obsessed with her “baby doll” and spends most of her time plotting escape trying to return to make certain that her unreliable mother is taking care of her “baby doll.”

It was interesting being inside Ginny’s head. Seeing and processing the world from her perspective. Feeling things from her perspective.

Some of the adults in this book were quite frustrating. Their behavior was understandable at times but very irritating at others. To see how her adoptive parents changed in their shifting circumstances as new parents (they are expecting a baby, the event which triggers most of what happens later). One changes for the good and one for the bad, and it was just so aggravating.

I’m not sure why for 5 years no one believed that Ginny was talking about a real baby when she talked about her “baby doll.” From chapter 1 and the way she talked about calming a baby, it was clear to me that this was no play baby doll she was talking about. This is an excellent example of the way some people “listen.” Though Ginny came across as speaking in code sometimes, Ginny was also very specific and if you knew her (as the reader comes to know her), you start to easily pick up on the nuances of how she expresses herself. How she quite clearly distinguishes a “plastic fake baby” from her “baby doll.” How if you ask her a question she will answer. But if you ask her two questions in a row, she gets confused and says nothing. You learn later that her therapist (one of the few reliable adults) did suspect that she was talking about a real baby and looked into it, but never found anything. But duh, if you were motivated, it would be pretty simple to hide someone’s existence. Ever heard of a home birth??? Look harder!!!!

I found the ending the most interesting and thought provoking. How when Ginny is finally given the thing that she has sought for so long, she is so, so confused. She finds it difficult to handle the suddenly shifting circumstances despite people trying to prepare her for it. Obviously there are better ways of going about it, but still, to witness how it threw her for such a loop and how she handled it was so worrisome. There were so many points where she could have been severely injured or even killed.

Beyond the annoying adults, my only lingering annoyances were why none of Ginny’s various caretakers ever offered a better solution to Ginny’s runaway problem. She was constantly trying to escape to get back to her mother, Gloria, and everyone knew it. Why didn’t anyone ever bother to try some heavily supervised visits with the girl’s mother? I know she was generally a lowlife, but surely there was a way. Also, I would have liked to know what really went down with Ginny’s dad and her foster parents. You get the general gist, but since all is told from Ginny’s perspective, you can only guess. It bothered me how that ended.

I feel like I’ve already given too much away. But alas, it was a really compelling read. Funny at times. Heart wrenching at others. But overall, I really, really liked that smart cookie, Ginny Moon.

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