Blue Moon Day is a collection of short stories, each separated by part of a single story, like layers in a delicious and satisfying cake. This overarching story is about a girl who, once in a blue moon, concocts a reason to stay home from school to read. She accompanies her mum in the car as her mum goes about her work visiting old people who live alone, but she stays in the car to read her stories. Each story is set in a different boarding school, and they are varied in tone, time and atmosphere. One story is about a boy who misses home and is bullied for being ‘a weeper’; another about an only child who loves the busy life and constant company of boarding school. There’s a story set in a school for blind children and another in a school for young offenders. Each one is illuminating and gives food for thought. They bring the reader into that time and place – opening the mind to ideas such as the mismatch between the mask we project to the world and how we feel inside; the pain of bullying and the comfort of friendship; the value of company and the need for solitariness.
As always, Fine is not afraid to confront dark and sad themes, but does so sensitively, with her characteristic insight and humour. Each layer has its own flavour resulting in this satisfying collection of short stories that can be enjoyed one slice at a time.