Christopher Meeks is well on his way to becoming one of my favorite authors. In this particular novel, the reader is introduced to Edward Meopian. The story spans a good portion of his life, beginning when he is 14 years old and coming to a close when he reaches his mid-40's, from 1968 to 1999....
The Brightest Moon of the Century is full of funny moments as well as sentimental ones. I laughed out loud on occasion and got teary eyed in others. While I enjoyed every word in this book, my favorite section has to be Edward's stay in Alabama where he and his college friend Sagebrush own and run a mini-mart in a trailer park. The two couldn't be more different from one another, one being more interested in playing while the other strives to be responsible. The two men compliment each other, balancing each other out. Small-town Alabama was such a contrast from the life Edward had been living in Los Angeles. He grows quite a bit while in the South.
I enjoyed reading about Edward's experiences in graduate school, as well. The rather demanding Professor Neff reminded me of one of my former college professors, albeit in an entirely different field of study. And I loved the moments when Edward struggles to understand girls and women early on in the book.
The final section of the book also left quite an impression on me, taking a more serious turn. As quirky and funny as the book could be at times, there was also a seriousness about it. Life is not always easy. It certainly wasn't all that easy for Edward.
As Edward's story unfolds, the author effectively captures the essence of where Edward is in the moment at each point in his life, both mentally and developmentally. As a result, I grew up right along side Edward. I felt his teenage angst, his optimism about the future, his frustrations and disappointments, his hope and the shifting of his dreams.
I experienced first-hand his transition from boy to man and as he came into his own. The transition was very subtle, as it is in real life. Life events building on one another and the people that come in and out of our lives are a part of what makes us who we are, shaping the direction our lives take. We play it safe; we take risks. It is no different for Edward.
Edward himself is a bit naive in some ways. It's that innocence which makes him easy to relate to initially. He is insecure and yet there is also a confidence about him that balances his character out. He does not realize just how smart and capable he truly is. Edward is a romantic at heart, and, like many, he longs for love, hopes for it and searches it out. He wasn't the cool kid in school nor do the beautiful women flock to his side (although I'm sure he wished they would). He is down to earth; someone who is easy to identify with. He is someone I wouldn't mind having as a friend....
What I got most out of this wonderful novel is a sense of hope. Life is full of bumps in the road, and those bumps make us stronger, helping us to become who we are and who we will eventually be. It's important not to forget to watch that sunset once in a while.
"This world could be heaven on earth if only people let it, Edward realized. Every sunset could show you. Take it" [pg 224].
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