Benjamin Ludwig's Debut Novel Stuns with Authenticity and Purpose
By Lisa Allard
On May 2nd, New Hampshire author Benjamin Ludwig will be releasing his very first novel, Ginny Moon. Selected as a B&N Summer 2017 Discover Great New Writers book, this highly anticipated read is about to take the literary world by storm in more ways than one.
The story is told from the entertaining and captivating perspective of an autistic teenage girl. Taken away from her abusive and drug-addicted mother at the age of nine, Ginny is now a foster child. She has finally found her “forever home” - a place where she is safe and taken care of properly by Brian and Maura, her “forever mom and dad.”
Much to this dismay of her foster parents, Ginny makes continuous efforts to contact her birth mother. She is concerned about “Baby Doll”, her baby sister that she left behind. Because if she isn’t, then who is taking care of her baby doll? In order to save her baby doll, Ginny devises a heroic plan of escape. She will do whatever it takes to see to the well-being of her sister, even if it means leaving her forever family behind.
“It’s like I left the original me behind when I came to live with my new Forever Parents. With Brian and Maura Moon. My name is Ginny Moon now but there are still parts of the original me left.” Ginny’s adjustment to her new life reflects her struggle for acceptance and understanding ; a battle that readers can truly resonate and emphasize with.
In Ginny Moon, Ludwig makes a statement about the longevity of family and the power of love. The novel carefully portrays some of the challenges involved with raising an autistic child. In this experience, Brian and Maura certainly made some mistakes. But they were able to grow from these mistakes, taking the time to better understand Ginny's world and the heartbreaking childhood that shaped her.
The protagonist's literal mindset as well as the motivations behind her actions are often difficult for her parents, teachers, and peers to decipher and can lead to moments of frustration. However, it is clear that Ginny has nothing but pure intentions in her heart. As the novel progressed, I was able to better understand her character and what caused her to think and act in certain ways. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience.
Ludwig has crafted a truly authentic voice that demands to be heard. Despite the saddening circumstances, Ginny’s perspective is not at all despairing or overly emotional but uplifting, humorous, and beautiful. I found myself completely engaged throughout the novel and pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the experience. There’s no doubt about it ; Ginny Moon will become your favorite literary character.
Ginny Moon is a novel that I continue to reflect upon. Extraordinarily unforgettable, you will remember Ginny’s story long after you have finished reading.
A life-long teacher of English and writing, Benjamin Ludwig lives in New Hampshire with his family. He holds an MAT in English Education and an MFA in Writing. Shortly after he and his wife married they became foster parents and adopted a teenager with autism. Ginny Moon is his first novel, which was inspired in part by his conversations with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices. Please visit Benjamin Ludwig's website for more information.
Lisa Allard is a student at Southern New Hampshire University. She is working as Literary Editor for the New Hampshire Writers' Project. For editorial inquiries and requests, please contact LisaAllard02917@gmail.com