Pack Up the Moon

Pack Up the Moon


Emma is twenty-six -- pretty, intelligent, and happily living with her childhood sweetheart John in a cute little Dublin apartment. Her biggest problem is that her mother won't stop nagging her to get married already. Emma and John feel like the perfect couple, their future alive with possibilities. But out of the blue, a tragedy throws her life into disarray -- and Emma is suddenly, incomprehensibly, alone.

As she emerges from grief, Emma has to find a whole new way of living, and her loyal friends rally round in an attempt to help. Clodagh, Emma's lifelong friend, with whom she's shared everything from mud pies to dating disasters. Anne and Richard, more-or-less happily married and debating a move to the country. Emma's brother Noel, the young Catholic priest, finding his own faith tested even as he tries to comfort Emma. Seán, the gorgeous bad boy of a thousand one-night stands, uncomfortably aware of his and Emma's growing connection. Witty, acerbic, and sometimes downright shocking, Emma documents the stories of her friends and her own recovery from grief with a candor that engages the reader from the very first page.

With an amazing insight into the power of friendship and a wry, irreverent humor that considers no subject off-limits, talented new Irish writer Anna McPartlin tells a heartwarming story of the courage it takes to move past loss and learn to live.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416553090 | 
  • April 2008
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


At 26, Emma has a near-perfect life – a steady job, a great group of friends, a cute Dublin apartment and the perfect person to share it with, her long-term boyfriend John.  But in an instant, with the screech of brakes, everything changes and Emma is left devastated. 

Through their grief, Emma’s friends help her to put her life back together while weathering their own life changes: successful but perpetually single best-mate Clodagh; newlyweds Richard and Anne; Emma’s brother Noel, a Catholic priest struggling with a crisis of faith; and Sean, John’s handsome best friend, reeling from his loss. As Emma reemerges into her life, she must find the courage not just to go on, but to accept the joy, adventure, and new love waiting around the corner.

Discussion Questions

1)    Discuss how the five stages of grief are explored through the reactions of Emma and her friends. Do you think the group’s grief process helps Emma to move through her own pain?  Do you agree with Emma that guilt is the step before see more

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About the Author

Anna McPartlin
Photograph by Ken Browne

Anna McPartlin

Anna McPartlin, who was shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year in the 2007 Irish Book Awards, was formerly a stand-up comedian and a cabaret performer. She lives in Dublin with her husband, Donal.