The Moth by Catherine Burns

This book is a collection of 50 short stories, recounted by the protagonists themselves. The stories are fascinating, unusual, enthralling and addictive. Once I started reading them, I couldn’t put the book down.

What is special about the stories is the friendly, chatty way they are written. The Moth started as a means of encouraging the oral art of story telling and this is reflected in the way the stories have now been captured in print. An introduction  by Neil Gaiman explains the thinking behind why these stories work and sets the scene for some wonderful stories. Gaiman concludes his Introduction by saying that the written group of stories ‘teaches us to read’  – this is true but I think it will also inspire many to think, to talk and perhaps to tell their own stories too.

The stories are often events that have been life changing for the people recounting them. They make the reader think – days later and some of the stories are still with me and they will be for some time to come. I think of them, of the people involved, of how I might have reacted in similar circumstances. I can’t wait to discuss the stories that effected me the most with my friends.

These are excellent stories for introducing topics of discussion – false arrest, racism, war and suicide to mention a few. They are topics that mature teens will enjoy discussing and the length and style of the stories make this book accessible to a wide range of readers.

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