Carmen was a young white girl before she was a young black girl. She was having (lots of) sex with her boyfriend Griffin in both states.
She likes that he knew her when she was white, because as she moves out of school and into the working world, as she collects new experiences like trading cards, the people who know her have always known her to be black.
And of course that comes with many suppositions and prejudices, which Carmen can cite rigorously because she used to possess and promote many of them as a privileged white girl with perfect blonde hair and all the best shades of lipstick.
So those who meet Carmen later in her life only see one side of her.
And sometimes all they see is the colour of her skin.
Moon Honey is an ideal vehicle to explore the sticky and convoluted territory of racism, and Suzette Mayr’s penchant for transformative tales was solidly afoot even in this first novel.
Carmen’s transformation unfolds in standard text, but the novel is punctuated with italicized passages detailing other dramatic changes which characters experience.
But just as remarkable are the glimpses into characters’ pasts, so that even the seemingly unsympathetic characters are shown a degree of understanding that readers might not have afforded them based on first impressions. S
o that readers, too, can allow their ideas about the story to transform.