Cover image for The meaning of maggie
Title:
The meaning of maggie
Publication Information:
2014.
ISBN:
9781452130170
Target Audience:
Grade 3

690
Language:
English
Abstract:
As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it's been! During this period she's Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. Author Megan Jean Sovern, herself the daughter of a dad with multiple sclerosis, writes with the funny grace and assured prose of a new literary star. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader Grades 5-8 4.3 7 Quiz 169659 English fiction.
Electronic Access:
Click to access digital title.
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Summary

Summary

As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it's been! During this period she's Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. Author Megan Jean Sovern, herself the daughter of a dad with multiple sclerosis, writes with the funny grace and assured prose of a new literary star. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-In this humorous, fast-paced "memoir" set in Atlanta in the early 1990s, Maggie recounts the past "year that changed EVERYTHING!" She aspires to become President of the United States and continually mentions being an avid reader and excellent student. She struggles socially though, studying alone at lunchtime, not getting flowers on Valentine's Day, and procuring many teacher signatures in her yearbook, but very few from peers. On Maggie's 11th birthday, her father leaves his job as an airline ticket agent because his legs "won't wake up," (he is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis) and her mother begins full-time work as a domestic at an elegant hotel. Maggie has a caustic relationship with her older sisters who spend more time with hair, makeup, and boys than studies. She is determined to find a cure for her father, who falls out of his wheelchair, loses the ability to eat independently, suffers a seizure, and is hospitalized with a massive infection. As his multiple sclerosis worsens during the year, the fifth grader realizes how hard her mother works at her job and at home and that her mother and sisters have tried to shield her from the grim reality of her father's disease. Meanwhile, Maggie's parents tell stories of their adventuresome hippie pasts to encourage their daughters to live life to the fullest. They share their love of Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, and other bands of that era, and hold their family together with love, hard work, respect, and courage. Maggie learns that she can survive getting a B, run an entire mile, and bravely face her father's illness and extend support. Readers will appreciate Maggie's humor and rejoice in her growth. This is a remarkable story of a working-class family pulling together in the face of a serious illness.-Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Maggie Mayfield aspires to be president one day, and she's preparing by excelling at school, following the rules, and living by her family's motto of pulling up one's bootstraps when times get tough. Unbeknownst to Maggie, her 11th year is one of those times. The novel is structured as Maggie's memoir, written one year later, as she recounts those tumultuous 12 months. Maggie knows that her father is ill (he requires a wheelchair ever since "his legs fell all the way asleep," as Maggie puts it), but her family is shielding her from his diagnosis, a balancing act both they and first-time author Sovern pull off beautifully. Maggie (and readers) see hints of the grim reality, but it isn't until halfway into the story that Maggie uncovers the full truth: multiple sclerosis. Although Sovern dials up Maggie's precociousness a bit high (and the novel's late 1980s setting seems entirely incidental), the author handles the topic of debilitating illness with a light touch in a story that's heart-wrenching yet full of heart. Ages 8-12. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

In her debut novel, Sovern introduces readers to eleven-year-old Maggie Mayfield, a female counterpart to Family Ties's Alex P. Keaton. Maggie's parents were clearly free spirits in their younger years, and her dad is ready to reminisce about those glory days at the drop of a hat. But Maggie has set her own path for a more responsible adulthood: she's going to be rich, and she's going to be president of the United States. Thinking there's nothing she can't conquer, Maggie is stymied by her dad's mysterious illness -- which is slowly (perhaps too slowly) revealed as multiple sclerosis. Maggie's family uses humor to deflect their pain, but this behavior also allows self-absorbed Maggie to ignore what's really going on at home. As she tells her story in flashback, Maggie's unreliable narration puts the responsibility on readers to see both the seriousness of her situation and the subtleties in the family dynamics. For example, she dismisses her two older sisters as a couple of "hotties." While it's true they may be beautiful, they're also involved with taking care of their father, making Maggie's lunch, and generally helping out at home. Maggie's self-realizations come quickly, mostly during the time her father is hospitalized for a serious infection on her twelfth birthday. But her distinct voice, with a snarky superiority that often masks her true vulnerability, creates a character who's not easy to love but tough to forget. betty carter (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Based on the author's family's story, this novel mixes in equal thirds tears, wit and reassurance amid debilitating illness.The day her father "won't stop beeping," future president Maggie Mayfield begins a memoir of 1988, the year her "cool dude" dad's multiple sclerosis takes a turn for the worse. Her dad's MS is as much a presence as his love of Neil Young records; a scene of her mother brushing his teeth is as casual as a kiss on the cheek. Its progression hits hardsuddenly, her dad is unemployed and her mother is exhausted, while her older sisters mess with makeup and boys. Maggie vows to fix her father, but her hardest lesson may be that she can't; the collision of her bookishness against her dad's unknowable prognosis is bound to elicit tears (aka "brain sweat"). Tough family bonds ground the story, even under stress, and Maggie's quirky everyday observations and sibling squabbles relieve tension. 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.More than an issue novel, Sovern's debut will be a boon to kids coping with a parent's illness or the unpredictability of growing up. (Historical fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Maggie Mayfield, 11, begins chronicling her life, because keeping a memoir is very important when you are a future U.S. president. This is the year that she will start middle school, defend her science fair title, and become a Coca-Cola shareholder. But while Maggie is acing her classes and keeping an eye on her flighty sisters, her father's health is failing. He quits his job, and her mom goes back to work, plus her sisters are acting even more strangely while everyone is adjusting to this new system. As her father's symptoms of multiple sclerosis become more severe, Maggie's hope is to find a cure with her science fair project. Maggie's story is at once optimistic but realistic. Typical school problems and family issues compete for attention, but she stays true to herself. Give this first novel to fans of other characters that are a little left of center, like Emma-Jean in Lauren Tarshis' Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree (2007).--Erickson, Tiffany Copyright 2014 Booklist