Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The Moonlight Man is a short novel about a fifteen-year-old girl who must somehow find a home for herself between two divorced parents who seem never to have loved each other at all. Catherine Ames lives in New York with her mother, Beatrice. At her father’s insistence, however, she has been sent to a boarding school in Montreal to “see more of the world”; as a writer, he sees worldly experience as essential. The events of Catherine’s summer are seen through her own eyes. She has been invited to spend the entire vacation with her father and his wife, but Harry Ames does not show up on the appointed day to take her home with him. The school director, Madame Soule, agrees to let Catherine remain at the school waiting and, with misgivings, also promises not to call her mother, who is on a honeymoon in England with her new husband.

Three weeks late, Harry calls his daughter and unpersuasively explains his reason for not coming—a disagreement with his wife. She is to meet him in Mackenzie, a small coastal town in Nova Scotia. The next thing that she knows, Catherine is driving three drunk men home over a bad country road and longs to be back in Montreal: “Her mother had not told her how terrible drinking could be.” Now she knows why her father had not kept his promise to come and get her: He is an alcoholic.

Catherine manages to live through the next three weeks, and some of that time is wonderful. Her father reads to her;...

(The entire section is 543 words.)