C. Leigh Purtill
Reviewed by Rachael Stein (age 15) for Reader Views (11/08)
Sixteen-year-old Margaret Shanley, currently known as Meg, is getting tired of having to move from place to place because her thirty-year-old sister Lucie can’t manage to stay in one place long enough for Meg to call it home. Meg does understand that they do not have much money, but she still wishes for more stability in her hectic life. The latest move, to Hollywood, seems to be just as trying as the others, and so Meg writes to Jennifer Aniston for advice, as she’s done for years. Never mind that Jen hasn’t written in a while; Meg just needs to feel she has a friend in the world, especially after a strange man appears at Meg and Lucie’s home. That’s when Meg finally discovers the truth that Lucie is actually her mother, and not her older sister as Meg had always thought, and that Meg has a family and a father in New York. And so she goes to the Big Apple, in search of love, acceptance, and her elusive father. And what Meg learns from her trip will change her forever.
“Love, Meg” was a very well-written and moving story that I immensely enjoyed reading. There is a very realistic quality to Purtill’s writing which manifests itself in the authenticity of the characters and most of the plot. Each of the characters in “Love, Meg” was evidently crafted with care, from main character Meg to even the smaller ones like her uncle Lonnie and her grandmother Alma. I could really connect with Meg’s character through her emotions and the trials she had to go through. I appreciated her maturity and determination as well as her flaws. I really liked how Purtill didn’t make Meg’s antagonists into strict angels of perfection or evil villains; their flaws are rather large but the reasons behind these flaws or how the characters deal with them make them so human.
Plotwise, “Love, Meg” is sound. I would, however, have liked there to have been some sort of resolution or closure between Meg and her grandmother Alma because I felt their relationship was cut a little short. Even if the story in “Love, Meg” doesn’t end completely happily, it is nonetheless full of hope. It would be sweet for Meg to have a happily-ever-after, but it is more realistic that her experience in New York ends with some accomplishments and some disappointments. Reading Meg’s story really makes one value whatever family and friends one has.
“Love, Meg” by C. Leigh Purtill was a very satisfying read because of its realistic characters and story and its meaningful message. This novel will be popular among all teen readers, especially fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.