This may be the most dreamy book I have ever read.
Reading When The Moon Was Ours feels exactly like falling into a dream. It took my what felt like ages to read this book (it didn’t. It took me 3 days.) but that was only because it was a story I wanted to fall asleep into it. It reads like a lullaby, gently taking you off into a far away, but familiar, world.
Reasons to read this book:
- You like magical realism
- You like trans love stories that aren’t all about being trans
I really don’t know what to say about this book. I really liked the atmosphere; I found that to be the strongest part of the novel. It really did feel like falling into another world, one where dreams and magic are possible (but who says they aren’t in this world?). I love the way McLemore incorporates legend into the story of Miel (side note, but I love her name). I love her prose, and how full of nature it is without feeling overwhelming. It just feels… magical. But most of all, I love her delicate treatment of Samir.
Samir is a boy who was born under the name Samira, but soon decided to live as a boy in order to be the man of the house to support his mother. Samir, or Sam, believes he is expected to resume living as female once he is an adult, which he is fast approaching at age 17. This is Sam’s main plot, but Sam is also deeply involved in Miel’s plot: this is a love story.
And oh, what a beautiful love story it is. McLemore is very honest and open about her own life, and that of her trans husband, and this makes the entire story feel very personal and intimate and beautiful. The love between Samir and Miel is so soft and is treated so gently. I love that Sam is allowed to unapologetically be the male romantic lead, and I love that the fact that Sam is trans does not hinder their love in the least. The love between them is love, pure and complicated and beautiful. Nothing more and nothing less.
There are so many love stories in this book: the love between family members, the love for one’s self, the love shared between souls. Each one is so gently told, it’s hard not to fall in love yourself.
What a beautiful, soft story this is.
3 roses out of 5.