“Thirteen Moons” by Charles Frazier tells the story of Will Cooper, a twelve year old orphan that goes on a wild adventure. Will is sold into indentured servitude and, as part of his service, he is ordered to travel to the edge of the Cherokee Nation, where he will manage a trading post. On this adventure he inevitably encounters all kinds of unexpected adventures. One of the foremost being when he loses his horse, his sole companion and his only mode of transportation. However, in his search for the horse, he meets interesting new characters, such as Featherstone, a renowned horse thief. He engages in a game of chance with Featherstone, who upon losing sends Will running for his life. The run in with Featherstone, though, isn’t a complete loss because it is there that he meets Claire, the woman he would come to love. He eventually makes it to the trading post where he will befriend the Cherokee chief, Bear. These events will all lead to more change and upheaval as Will finds his way through life.
This is the perfect book for anyone that loves a good historical fiction novel that is strife with confusing narratives, bizarre time jumps, overly flowery writing and random character introductions. The book starts with an elderly Will narrating. Perhaps the format of the narrative is meant to convince the reader that Will has Dementia or Alzheimers or perhaps it is just poorly written. Either way, Will introduces random characters, with paragraphs describing them, then moves on to the next character description with seemingly no connection. Once past the initial thirty pages of random character descriptions from an elderly Will, the reader will find themselves immersed in the story of Will as a child. However, beware of the abrupt change from Will telling his own story to a third person perspective of his time as a child.
Congratulations to anyone who can get passed the confusing narrative and abrupt perspective changes, but the hardest part to get through is the incredibly flowery language and descriptions that Charles Frazier uses in overabundance. Is it really necessary to have an entire page long paragraph describing the contents of a room that the main character then immediately leaves and is never mentioned again? In addition to the excessive descriptions of unnecessary things there is also a complex flowery nature to the way the entire book is written. It makes the book hard to interpret and some sentences have to be read at least ten or more times until it is possible to tell what the author is saying. Generally, it is just a hard book to read for anyone.
Overall, these writing flaws, predominantly the confusing narratives, bizarre time jumps, overly flowery writing and random character introductions, make it a very difficult book to read. Finding it can take three times longer than usual to read each page is a deterrent to reading it but for anyone who can make it past the first sixty pages of this book, Wow. Just, wow. That is a feat in itself so please congratulate yourself. For everyone else, even getting through the first few pages is an achievement so good job! Last but not least, for the readers who never even picked “Thirteen Moons” up off the shelf, you are perhaps the wisest of us all.