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Love, Meg

Review

Love, Meg

Fifteen-year-old Meg Shanley lives with her older sister, Lucie. As long as Meg can remember, it has always been just the two of them. Her mother died while giving birth to her, and her father was killed in a car crash, so Lucie took over raising Meg at just 17. However, Lucie hasn’t been the most stable or reliable of guardians.

Looking for advice and a steady friend, Meg turns to Jennifer Aniston, one of the stars of her favorite TV show, “Friends.” Meg begins writing letters to the actress, asking for help with problems and just someone with whom to talk. And for a couple of years, Meg even receives responses, complete with encouragement, advice and friendship. Then the letters stop coming, though Meg knows it’s just because Jennifer is so busy. But Meg continues to write; the letters provide an outlet for pent-up feelings and a source of hope.

As Meg delves into her sophomore year of high school, Lucie decides to move them yet again. The sisters have relocated at least once a year, every year, so even though Meg is used to new towns and new schools, it doesn’t make things any easier. This time, they move to Hollywood, and right away Meg keeps an eye out for new friend potential as her old friend gradually fades away. And no surprise, Lucie seems remote and self-centered, just as she always is. This appears to be following the routine of every other move, until a stranger shows up on their doorstep.

The stranger claims to be Meg’s uncle --- an uncle who Meg doesn’t even know she has. He lives in New York, and has finally tracked the sisters down to tell them that Meg’s grandmother is dying --- another relative Meg doesn’t know existed. Positive that this unknown family will provide more security and love than Lucie ever had, Meg moves to New York City. There, at yet another new school, Meg makes a good friend and settles into New York life, including subways and unending urban sprawl, quickly and easily. She even starts to fall in love with her friend’s intelligent and compassionate brother. However, the family love she hoped to find falls short. Instead, Meg uncovers some deeply buried family secrets that promise more heartache and disappointment. Will Meg ever find the family she dreams of having?

LOVE, MEG is C. Leigh Purtill’s debut novel, and she is proving how talented a writer she is. First of all, her vivid descriptions pull a reader right into the various settings of the story (“There was a color to winter on the East Coast that didn’t exist in Southern California. The sky took on a grayish white cast…as if a thin netting had been tossed over the landscape to protect it until spring.”). Second, the character of Meg is so very real, multidimensional and likable that readers will desperately want to befriend her. Third, the story hooks securely onto readers’ interests, pulling them through page after page. And fourth, Meg has an awesome last name (though the Shanleys in my own beloved tree are more like the family Meg is searching for than the ones she finds).

The book does contain one scene of smoking marijuana and many of smoking cigarettes, though neither action is committed by the main character, Meg. Plus, multiple negative consequences are shown for the cigarette smoking, e.g. lung cancer. Strong language is used as well, but nothing worse than what can be found in a PG-rated movie. Readers will quickly become fans and impatiently wait for the next novel from this talented writer (ALL ABOUT VEE is scheduled for April 2008).

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Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 18, 2011

Love, Meg
by C. Leigh Purtill

  • Publication Date: July 5, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • ISBN-10: 1595141162
  • ISBN-13: 9781595141163