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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Canary and The Mothman is a tragic rendition of the life story of a man named Jesse. Inspired by real events, it is the first novel of author Emory Moon's Canary series. Raised in the Ridge household, Jesse gets initiated into the family moonshine business at the tender age of 9 by his grandmother. Due to Grandma Ridge's refusal to acknowledge a horrifying family secret, Jesse decides to run away from home. He inadvertently finds himself joining the Industrial School for Colored Boys, where he befriends a boy named Zee. As the years go by, Jesse ends up working at a coal mine overseeing canaries. Meanwhile, nightmares from his past continue to plague him, causing him to lose his own identity until he meets Dawn. Will Dawn be his salvation?
Canary and The Mothman is a somber reminder of how traumatic events from one's childhood can affect a man's entire life. Author Emory Moon takes a realistic approach to mental illness as Moon delves deep inside Jesse's head. The inner turmoil raging inside Jesse is unrelenting, making him sympathetic and fascinating to read. Even though the plot moves at a somewhat slower pace, I felt that the narrative demands it, and that's what makes it a compelling story. The ending is unresolved as Moon leaves a couple of plot threads hanging, but I'm sure will tackle them in the sequel. Overall, I found Canary and The Mothman to be a well-written exploration of mental illness induced by childhood trauma. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy books with a somber tone.