Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Here is the cover  - every detail here is important

Now watch the trailer!!

Okay here we go again.  The meaning of Maggie is my new favourite book or at least goes into my top twenty (which is probably really about a thousand books by now).

Here are a few points to start with :
1.  I ADORE the cover
2.  I want to meet Maggie and be her friend
3.  I read this book at night, at breakfast, for ten minutes before leaving for work and again when I arrived home.  I read and read and read almost without stopping (except to go to school) because I just had keep listening to Maggie.  This writing is so strong you will feel as though you are having a conversation with this witty and resilient young girl.
4.  This book has the perfect balance of humour and poignancy.

The Meaning of Maggie covers one year of Maggie's life - the year she turns eleven.  Over the course of this eventful year Maggie changes from a self absorbed child into a young girl who has begun to see the world through the eyes of others.

Maggie's dad is very ill.  Everyone in the family helps out but at first Maggie doesn't see this.  As this gentle story unfolds we discover (with Maggie) the true strengths of each family member, including dad.

So much happens over the year.  A new school.  New friends.  New feelings about boys!  Festivals such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day.  Towards the middle of the year Maggie decides to study Multiple Sclerosis for her Science Fair project.  Maggie is an outstanding student and she expects to win the fair again this year.  Her project is complex and personal.  You will easily see why I love this quote as she arrives at the library ready to begin her research :

"I opened the library door and the smell of knowledge and dust hit me in the face.  I loved everything about the library.  I loved the rows and rows of books. I loved the cranky old ladies who read about knitting while knitting.  I loved the book alarm that caught book thieves.  I loved that while technology progressed, I could still depend on books because no-on every lied in books.  And I loved that the librarian loved books just as much as I did ..."

Here is a set questions for this text.  Please take time to read the Kirkus review quoted below.

One tiny warning for an Australian reader.  There are a few reference to foods, especially sweets, in The Meaning of Maggie which I certainly did not know.  I don't think these matter too much but here is one example from the prologue :

"I'm kind of hoping (dad will) wake up soon so we can split this Little Debbie".  The context tells you this must be food.  When I explored further it is a brand of cake.

Maggie writes of a book that “[b]y the time you reach the end of the chapter, you realize you’ve highlighted every single word because every single word was really important.” Smart, sensitive, sad and funny, Maggie’s memoir reads the same way.

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