Naming The Moon

Rated 2.75/5 based on 8 reviews
Pauly Macy came to California, with Jilly, to buy a house and settled down. But settling down didn’t work for Jilly. Jilly was gone and here he was, in a California backwater, More

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Words: 19,870
Language: English
ISBN: 9780983406334
About Joseph Valentinetti

The Type Of People I Write About
There are many reasons a person will pick up a book. They’re looking for something, it could be anything. So let me give some idea of what you’ll find when you open a book of mine. But first let me tell you what you won’t find. None of my characters are innocent. They are not finding love for the first time. They are not stunning symbols of ideal beauty or intelligence. They may be jaded or naïve but they are not brand new. None of my characters are capable of turning into bats, wolves or anything requiring a special uniform, especially a cape. They can’t leap over tall things, least of all buildings. They don’t wear masks or have faithful Indian companions. They don’t dress like they’re in Sherwood Forest and they don’t have a shapely fairy with dragon-fly wings who can sprinkle them with pixy dust and make their dreams come true. No ruby slippers, no magic Lamps. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with characters like that or people who write about them, it just that I don’t.
What you will find are people, ordinary average people who find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances. People who have gotten themselves into a position that’s completely new to them and they have to figure out how to get out of it. If they don’t find a way the consequences will be severe and most likely fatal.
There’s a spiritual song called The Lonesome Valley. It says, `Nobody can go there for you’. While that’s true, there are many people willing to help them find the path to it, if they’re not careful. My characters can’t buy their way out, they can’t wish their way out. They can’t hope for the best, they can’t pretend it isn’t happening. They can’t say it’s all someone else’s fault. It’s their time in life to face the facts.
E.M. Forster said the only way to end a work of fiction in a satisfying way is with death or marriage. Both satisfactorily signal the end of the adventure. My writing never ends with all the questions neatly answered. Some of the conclusion is left to the reader to ponder. Some readers think this isn’t the way books should be but some books are, mine for example.

About Me

Whenever I’m faced with the prompt to say something about myself I’m stumped. Maybe it’s because when I read how other people have responded to that, with dates of birth, schools attended, jobs held, marriages tried, children raised, accomplishments they’re proud of, I’m a little to a lot bored by it. Resumes and vita sheets-I don’t know. I always thought the only difference between a resume and a prison record was who’s doing the writing, who’s the record keeper.

I was born in New York City. From a national perspective it’s a world class place, full of everything anyone could ever want. From someone who grew up there it was the biggest small town in the world. Most New Yorkers live in enclaves of a few thousand people and spend most of their lives in a limited geographical area. My years there were spent in Washington Heights-some trips downtown, once to Jersey, to a camp, sponsored by the church for poor kids, but mostly within the confines of a square mile or two. I failed to graduate from George Washington High School because I failed to attend most of the time. By the authority vested in the City of New York I was transferred from GWHS P.S. 192 to P.S. 614. The 600 schools were special. To put it simply, you went on Monday and came home in June. I’d probably still be there but, about this time, the transit authority built the second level of the George Washington Bridge through my bedroom, forcing us to relocate, relieving the city of its responsibility toward my education.

One night, some friends and me were sitting around bored, playing cards, in a furnished room, on 48th and Palisades, over the 300 Club, in Union City New Jersey. We were mostly jobless, older teenagers. I don’t remember how the subject came up but we were talking about military service. Henry said he liked the Air Force, they had cool raincoats. I said the Army was three years and that was better than the four years the air Force demanded so it was the better deal. We cut the cards for it. I drew a queen. We enlisted the next day, on the buddy plan, Henry and me. He got pneumonia the first week of basic training and that was the last I saw of him.

Through no fault of my own I served in the peace time army. I got my GED in the service. I earned the GI bill for my time. All in all I got the better of the deal. It paid all the way through to a master’s degree in education. My undergraduate advisor told me I was the brightest undergraduate he’d ever met. My son’s mother said I was the dumbest bastard she’d ever met. A hand full of one, a handful of the other. Neither held the ring of truth or the aroma, for that matter, I wanted from either relationship. I was probably somewhere in the middle. I was a counselor/instructor at the University of Minnesota. I worked with federal grants to help underprivileged students access higher education. I did that until the university and federal government decided educating the underprivileged was no longer something worth doing.

During this same period I worked in public relations photography for the music industry, photographing their artists when they came to town for concerts. I also did studio photography as well as teach photography for Metropolitan State University. I taught training classes for state employees in utilizing media to improve agency communication. I had five one-man shows of my Photographs at the universities and private galleries.

I have since worked as a Public Guardian and a private detective. There is a block of time in this later period that I refer to as The Lost Years. You’ll have to wait to hear about that.

Some days I am happy and some days I am sad, some days I feel good and some days I don’t. I dropped out of high school because I didn’t see the connection between tin exports from Bolivia, solving for X and teachers who didn’t seem to understand the limits of their responsibilities, but, more likely it was because I didn’t understand the limitlessness of my own.

So. Now I’ve said something about myself.

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Reviews

Review by: Quentin Stewart on Jan. 16, 2012 :
An interesting novella that could easily be expanded into a novel. The story revolves around Paul who has a new love move in with him. He is the happiest he has ever been but she disappears with all of his stuff. The search for her leads to Paul finding his stuff but not her. After the police have given up he continues to search for his true love. One day during the search he finds a skull. But the skull turns out to be of a much older woman and leads to a second mystery in Paul's life. He is determined to protect the skull from all other claimants.

It is too bad that the author leaves these two mysteries open. I hope that he expands on both stories some time in the future and possibly continue Paul's search for his two women.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Bill Thibadeau on Jan. 03, 2012 :
This novella could have been so much more if the author had invested the time and energy. The two plot lines are incomplete and need much more substance. The characters are not developed sufficiently. It is too bad really as the author really has some talent. If he had developed the stories to their full fruition, I would have been much more satisfied. The two plots are good concepts but they just don't go anywhere. A round past a decent bout of editing would also be warranted as the novella is choppy and does not flow well.

I have also read his longer novella, Tyler Palewhite. That book is an improvement over Naming the Moon because of the time taken to develop the story more effectively. It does suffer from the same lack of editing.

I expect that time and the addition of a good editor will elevate this author to a much higher level and probable commercial success.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: CynDaVaz on Nov. 10, 2011 :
I liked this short story/novella a lot, but there were a few issues. One, the flow of the writing and the editing mistakes made it a bit difficult to know who was talking or thinking ... lack of quotes, no breaks where there should have been, etc. Another problem was the abruptness of the ending - as well as not knowing whatever happened to one of the characters. However, these issues weren't enough to make me knock a whole star off, and the writing style was unique and quirky enough to bring life to the characters.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tracey Steele on Nov. 03, 2011 :
To me this felt like I was reading the notes for a novel. The basic plot was interesting, but it felt under-developed. Characters appeared without explanation, and some felt like they were little more than names. It has the potential to be a good story, but it needs more work.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Claude Lambert on Nov. 03, 2011 :
There is a lot of talent here: this is a real author. For that reason, you should have a look at this: years from now you could say: "Oh! It is an author I discovered before everybody else." But right now, it is not a good book yet, just a good author. I do agree with the other reviewers so far (4 of them on librarything): the book needs a lot of revision. There are two very loosely related stories: one about a man who loses his girlfriend and tries to get on with his life. He meets another girl who disappears with all his stuff (including his potted plants: I like that detail!) The other story is about the discovery of an ancient skull and the trouble it causes to the hero. I think that the characters, specially the friends, could be more developed: we only recognize them by their names. And I may be a little dense, but I would understand everything so much better in 200 pages instead of 50. I need to know what happened to the girl who disappeared, because we are given to understand that it is something bad, but no explanation comes on. It could make a good detective story. The second story comes out as written very fast and there is a lack of precision about the science of bones - as compared for instance to the stories of Aaron Elkins who would be a direct competitor in terms of audience. I think that the book has more ambition than the "detective" style, it could be profound like the best Graham Greene, but for that, it needs to be longer and the poetical link between the two stories needs to be worked on. This being said, I enjoyed the trip.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Tona Cruz Dominguez on Oct. 31, 2011 :
The characters in this novella were well rounded, though the interaction and the flow between characters was lacking.

Paul is a man who tends to give up his life and identity for the women he falls in love with. His first girlfriend leaves him for more adventure. The second girlfriend is as sporadic as Pauly but she also leaves him. On his search for her and the money she took from him he finds a skull. This skull proved that a Caucasian female was in America before the American Indians. Paul feels the need to protect the skeleton of this woman who he names Panoma Moon.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: mrsepeel on Oct. 30, 2011 :
There are many, many good things about this novella and some things that need to be looked at again by the author, to allow the story to fulfil it's full potential.

The writing is very good and the characterisation was excellent, with humour and very entertaining interaction between main character Pauly and his friends. These are the aspects that convince me that a little editing and a tightening of the plotlines would be well worth it.

The ending felt more than a little rushed, and the storyline featuring the rediscovered bones was a little confusing, purely because not enough time was given to fleshing it out. These are definitely things that can be corrected and I would hope that the author will consider making this into a full length novel. I would be very pleased to read it - there's great potential here for a very good book.

As it stands now I would give it 2.5 stars out of 5, but will look for other work by the same author.

I received a review copy of the book from the LibraryThing's member giveaway programme.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Doskoi Panda on Oct. 28, 2011 :
Naming the Moon is a novella centered around Pauly Macy, a local printer and American football addict. Pauly has recently been left by his girlfriend,Jilly, and plans to go on a series of football oriented trips - to the cities where the games take place, and watch the games in his favourite bars. He collects his airplane tickets from his friends and muses with them about the Moon, and why all the rest of the planets' moons are named, but Earth's isn't. He next ponders the Moon's namelessness in a bar in Buffalo, where he meets Loretta, and things begin to get complicated. Partly because of Loretta, Pauly goes out digging in the Rincon, uncovering the ancient human remains of an woman, a find which could have an impact in archaeology, anthropology and Native American Indian claims.

Naming the Moon feels like there are two plotlines (the Lorretta/romantic interest plotline and the skeletal remains debacle) both of which have great potential. The character quirks and interactions, particularly the friendship between Pauly, Walty and Kate, help to flesh out the characters and make them believable*. I particularly enjoyed the mini-stories within the text (e.g., the reason why the bar in Buffalo is called Cheat's) as they add a layer of believability as well as offer a hints or insight.

On the downside, the novella has grammatical errors that need editing. The pacing of the story felt off, possibly because there were two plotlines, the second of which was rushed and unexplored, despite it having excellent potential**. The ending felt abrupt and unfulfilled, which was frustrating. The first plotline felt like it was left dangling, unresolved on all levels. The police work described (e.g., leaving a scene unattended) didn't ring true for me, and Pauly's football tour also seemed somehow unlikely.

Overall: 2.5 stars - Some great ideas here, but they need either pruning or development.
*The interaction with Malcolm is not as believable, but not unreasonable.
** It was what drew me to read the book in the first place, hence the frustration.
Review copy supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member Giveaway Program.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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