Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review and Book Tour: "Moonface" by Angela Balcita

Angela Balcita found out as a College student that she had kidney disease- her kidneys were failing rapidly and if she wanted to avoid dialysis she would have to add her name to the list of people waiting for donor kidneys. Her brother offered to give Angela one of his and she was able to use it successfully for about ten years.

When she is a little older, and still in possession of her brother's kidney, she meets Charlie. Charlie is wacky, colourful, and funny and Angela and Charlie fall in love. It amazes her that Charlie is willing to give up the normalcy of parts of his life to care for her, and her ever-present kidney problems, but it amazes her even more when he offers to donate his kidney to her when her brother's kidney begins to fail.

Moonface is their story- the story of their unconventional relationship, Angela's kidney problems, the transplant, and their quest to create a family. It is a story of love and friendship, and the power of family above all else.

For the most part I really enjoyed this story. It was quirky, which I believe is a testament to Angela and Charlie's life together. It tells the story of an extended family that, though not without its faults, loves deeply and honestly. Angela is also very honest while telling her story, whether the truth is uncomfortable or not. That added some credibility to the whole book for me: it wasn't the story of rainbows and puppies, but it was a story about the harsh reality of kindey disease and the transplant process.

*Spoiler Alert*

I think that Moonface would make a fantastic book club book because there is so much controversy within the pages. The story was the most interesting for me towards the end when Angela and Charlie decide to try to have a baby (naturally) rather than adopting or using a surrogate. Pregnancy puts both Angela and their unborn baby's health at risk, and while it would be easy for an outsider to say that Angela and Charlie were being selfish in getting pregnant, I would beg to differ. Having had high-risk pregnancies myself (although all were fine, just required additional monitoring) I can't imagine someone saying that I should not have been able to had my children because it put my health at risk. I think that a woman, and a couple, have every right to decide what risks they are willing to take to become parents, provided that they are able to provide that child with the care that it needs. Who am I to say who can and who cannot have a child? It's not my choice, therefore it's not for me to say. I'm sure that there are a lot of people who would disagree with me on this one, which is why I think it would make for a lively discussion.

Aside from the fact that it took me a few pages to really get into this one, I found Moonface to be an interesting and engaging read, and I would recommend it to any memoir fan who's looking for an unconventional story about love and family.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2011 100+ Reading Challenge


  1. This memoir is definitely unique - I've never heard of another like it. I think my book club could really get into a great discussion on this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. Am definitely intrigued. Hope to read this one soon!

  3. This sounds like an touching read -- I love the fact that the author includes all the "warts" of the story as well as the happier stuff...Is the "moonface" of the title a reference to the steriods she must have taken at the time of the transplant, or something else?

  4. @TheBookGirl- it is in reference to the steroids that she takes. Her boyfriend affectionately calls her "Moonface", which is cute.