Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Meaning of Maggie

The Meaning of Maggie

Spring 2014 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Megan Jean Sovern
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9781452110219
Hardcover Price: $16.99

At 11, Maggie Mayfield, already plans to be president. This is her memoir. It chronicles her first year of middle school, a year both blessed and fraught with major change, the biggest of which is illness. Maggie's father has multiple sclerosis, a disease she doesn't quite understand except that it makes his legs fall asleep sometimes. It also forces him to leave his job causing a big shift in family life; everyone seems to know what's really going on— except Maggie.

Yet as her life changes in disquieting ways, it also brings unexpected surprises. She learns to view events from different perspectives, for one, and discovers another side to her mother and two older sisters.

The gem of the story, though, is Maggie's narrative voice. While our heroine still has a few things to learn about life, she is always whip-smart and has a rapier-like wit.

There is both poignancy and humor in Maggie's story. Author Megan Sovern deftly blends the two to create a moving portrait of family illness seen through a young girl's eyes. A strong Prologue pairs with a soft ending to contain this wonderful story, like the yummy Oreos Maggie twists apart with her Dad. It has just the right mix of everything.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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