It’s rare when you pick up a writing debut that it drags you in as primitively as any lunar sighting. Caro Giles’ Twelve Moons: A Year Under a Shared Sky encapsulates precisely the wild mothering (mothering led by nature) that lies at the heart of this tale. Giles, having taken many aspects of her life and thrown them into this memoir chaptered accordingly by the moon (Snow Moon, Blood Moon etc), not only hints at the authenticity of this wild mothering approach, which connects so much of mothering to the outdoors, the wild, but also the primitive connection to Mother Nature that holds just her, despite her city living.
Twelve Moons is expansive, covering a move to Northumberland from The Big Smoke, her marital break-up and the difficulty in raising four daughters mainly as a single parent. Far from a Little Women-esque depiction of Marnie’s orderly mothering of four daughters, Giles scrutinises her own parenting, whilst giving the reader an insight into the nature-driven, sporadic and somewhat chaotic life she is attempting to offer her children.
Wildly meandering writing takes us on a lunar journey that feels incredibly personal despite moments of detachment, noting the lack of detail on the break-up and the otherworldly titles associated with her own four daughters – The Caulbearer, The Whirlwind, The Mermaid and The Littlest One. These only add to the reminder of Giles’ very own feeling of ‘other.’
Visceral, ethereal and steeped in reflection, Twelve Moons is a wonderous debut that’s not for everyone. Playful and wordy, it amplifies the importance of nature, the moon, the sea, and a must for any parent curious about ‘wild parenting’.
Twelve Moons by Caro Giles is out now, published by HarperCollins.