Moonface (TLC Tour Review)

Book cover for "Moonface" by Angela Balcita.Title: Moonface

Author: Angela Balcita

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 240

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Source: Review copy from the publisher, for TLC Tours

From the cover:

At the age of eighteen, Angela Balcita had reached a point in her life when her health could not keep up with her optimistic personality. After suffering kidney failure and after her body’s rejection of the kidney her brother donated to her, she was in desperate need of a transplant.

Lucky for Angela, she had found the ultimate partner in crime: her boyfriend, Charlie. Although they had known each other for only a short period of time, Charlie offered Angela his kidney. The ensuing story is unforgettable, with readers following Angela and Charlie’s journey through preparations for their respective surgeries; the procedures themselves, difficult yet emotionally riveting; the process of recuperation through the relapses; and the eventual healing — both inside and out — that greets this undeniably powerful duo.

Expanded from Angela’s unforgettable “Modern Love” column in the New York Times and by turns funny, bittersweet, and heartwarming, Moonface will make readers laugh, cry, and, above all, appreciate the importance of unconditional love.

I think that I was a little misled by the cover copy on this book. Perhaps that’s why I shouldn’t put so much stock in the specifics of cover text – I end up confusing myself.

Originally, I thought that Moonface would be about a girl who starts dating a boy, and then gets sick, and the boy donates his kidney … and then they become closer and their relationship really flourishes. I think that assumption was brought on by the way the cover copy dives right into her second kidney failure, and says that Angela and Charlie have “known each other for only a short period of time”.

Let me clarify, dear readers, that what I thought this meant is not the case.

Instead, Moonface is a memoir about Angela’s relationship with Charlie, Angela’s alternatively failing and prevailing health – specifically Angela’s bothersome kidney disease – and the ways in which these major forces play against and work with each other throughout a specific period of her life.

At the beginning of the book, I was confused by Angela’s seemingly overused comic treatment of what she was writing, but it all made sense once Charlie was introduced. It often felt as though I was an invisible outsider observing conversations and interactions between the two, things that normally they wouldn’t say or do in front of other people. Mostly, this was endearing – it meant that I almost felt as I was a part of what was going on. I felt as though their struggles were somehow playing out right in front of me, and that maybe – just maybe – the outcome hadn’t been decided yet. Normally, I don’t feel this way when I read memoirs, so it was an interesting experience.

There are some tricks up Balcita’s sleeve as she wrote this book. Most importantly, it is that she knows what will be coming up, and the reader doesn’t; obviously, this isn’t exactly anything new, but the little hints that she dropped kept me wanting to read on, wanting to know what would happen to her/Charlie/”their” kidney, and that kept me engaged in the book.

Even though kidney disease and organ transplantation aren’t exactly high on my list of interests, I still found Moonface quite entertaining. Definitely an accomplishment, considering myself as a reader who normally gravitates towards very specific topics and styles.

Honestly, I want to tell you to give this book a try – there’s something in Balcita’s story for almost everyone. It might not sound like your cup of tea (or even read like it right at the beginning), but I think you’ll enjoy it anyways.


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