By the Light of the Crescent Moon: Alisa Keppie
The light of the Crescent Moon can shine on you and bring you the joy and warmth you feel as you look at it with your hopeful eyes. Love can often blindside you and darkness that envelopes you and takes away the light can hide the truths about those that are around you and the events that you cannot clearly see. Love can guide you and turn your life in the right direction but when you read the author’s journey and take it along with her, you will wonder if she ever knew the true meaning of the word Love and the hope she would have it unconditionally from another person. A life that required her to understand that her own mother did not love her and as it says in the prologue many women have grown up with mothers who hated them for being female. What happens when a mother does not want to hug her daughter and treats her brother in a different way? The crescent , moon symbolizes her at a time of rebirth, fresh start and the reemerging of light while also holding the mystery of not really being the source of the light. Take the journey and get to understand whether she ever found that light again.
Sometimes you meet someone, and you get so enamored you cannot see past their exterior and have no idea about what they are like inside. Leaving home and hoping to live apart from her parents the author winds up joining a trampoline club, and this leads to other experiences. Deciding to become a Muslim and immersing herself in their customs, way of life and even wearing a hijab in public seemed to embrace her. The Quran become her book and learning the ways of Islam her goal. The shows she did working with others ignited her spirit and when the ended she felt down. Meeting Said would change her perspective on life, herself and would now take her on a journey with many shades of darkness, sun and clouds.
Words can be spoken but behind those words you sometimes do not hear the hidden meanings and you only listen to what Said seemed to know exactly how to use the right words that the author wanted to hear, and she hoped that they would have a great relationship. She concentrated on learning her new religion and loved the Arabic words , the beautiful recitation and the piety and passion that the Muslims seemed to have for the religion and Allah. She was connected and felt the deeper beauty and peace. But, along the way she hears THE VOICE, and it would tell her to look at the truth and Said in a different way. Somewhere along the line The Voice became both her protector and persecutor with words that it hoped would awaken her to the truths that she might not see now but will she in the future? Throughout the memoir she meets many people that are part of his family, his world and some friends but she is in his world not her own. She meets Safiyya his mother and she help with the cooking but at times complains about her way of doing things. But the respect she shows her should have made Said embrace her more. Things go change and locations where they live do too as Said cannot seem to keep employment in one place and leaves her alone, isolated and wanting friendships and more.
She has four daughters each different and yet hoping that they would embrace the ways she has come to live by, but no matter how hard the author tries she never seems to really feel loved, wanted and needed as Said says the words but the actions sometimes never follow. She even must change her name to one that Said gives her which is Muslim.
Married to this man but still responsible for her parents needing money for food and more, the expense and stress moving to another country drained their small resources and the reality of living in Morocco where there were no government supports began sinking in. Said’s mother looked worried and upset. Thinks changed from day to day and having children made her world even more limited as she had to deal with them mostly on her own since Said was always off somewhere. Her mother added her voice and opinions. At times he did not come home and then he wanted to add Fatima to their marriage, and this took on a different tone. How could she not feel resentment and why did he want another wife? Wasn’t’ she enough? You can r=feel the climate tension, you can feel the way he changed and at times she had to try and blend into so many different worlds, deal with different people and the isolation and loneliness comes through by her actions and her words as she now had to decide on her future.
Becoming part of the English school system seemed to revive her spirits and energy and reading about her experience you can tell although tiring she loved working with the children and brought them a true experience of early childhood education and more. The article that the school wanted Al Jazeera to do about the program and her gave her joy, made her feel elated and want more. But, in the end Fatima became his second wife, moved in and sharing this man could not have been easy and four daughters each different and yet the same at times I wonder if they realized what an amazing mother she was and yet their father I don’t think ever really got to know them.
When his mother has a stroke she comes to her aid and saves her life I wanted to hear him thank her for caring. Now, she would have to care for her too. The story goes on with many changes in her life, things about her girls move in different directions and Fatima becomes someone they enjoy being with and love.
When said says something to her as the memoir ends you won’t believe the harsh reality she faces. A new mother who must adapt to the ways and customs of a strange country and their rules, Alisa shares her experiences of isolation, loss of identity, romance, sisterhood and the changes in her marriage. Relationships change and hers would undergo major ones and Alisa learns that life was not the beautiful world she thought she had created. Her struggles, her poor choices, her hope that her inner voices or voice would guide her and the startling ending of what happens when said says one sentence that changes it all. The light that is neede3d to shine and survive dimmed and the constraints of her marriage, religion and culture tied her so tightly she at times could not breath. Where is she now? Did she change directions? Read the epilogue to learn because some mysteries the reader needs to unveil on their own. When the darkness envelopes you for so long, the clouds bring turbulence and storms will she finally understand something clearly at last of the Crescent Moon? Told in the first person in the author’s voice there are many lessons learned by the author until she hopes that light will finally shine forever.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews