Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

The Meaning of MaggieMaggie loves to learn, she loves school, and she loves her dad. He is confined to a wheelchair, but he still has a great sense of humor. He is forced to quit his job as he loses more control of his muscles, and Maggie's mom must start working. Maggie decides to study her father's disease for her science fair project, but she's frightened when she learns the facts. Each family member must deal with it in different ways, but it's hard for Maggie. Her parents keep secrets from her and treat her like a child, but she discovers it's sometimes easier not knowing the truth.

Some readers might not appreciate Maggie's love for learning, but just consider it a quirk of her character. The author was able to capture the many emotions surrounding serious, long-term illnesses. Dad's health had its ups and downs, but his sense of humor was constant. I think this was confusing for Maggie. There were feelings of sadness, joy, confusion, and anger. The author kept the story real by including descriptions of the family dealing with the illness. The kids had to help their dad in and out of his wheelchair, he sometimes dropped things, and they had to strap him down to keep him from falling. He still wanted to do "normal" things, so the family had to figure out ways to keep him safe. Overall, an enjoyable book with realistic hope.

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