The Book of Essie could have been my June Book of the Month choice, but I chose Calypso instead before book club chose The Book of Essie for our July book. While it didn’t grab my attention as a June selection, I’m glad I had the chance to read it so it could prove to be more than I thought it was.
The Book of Essie
by Meghan MacLean Weir
Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, The Book of Essie is about 17 year old, Essie Hicks, reality TV star from her family’s show, Six for Hicks. Essie’s family, lead by her evangelical pastor of a father, has been followed by the media for years, and when Essie turns up pregnant, they have to decide how to handle a PR nightmare that could cost them the fortune they’ve made from living such publicly conservative lives. Essie seeks out a plan of her own in Roarke Richards, a senior at her school and fellow secret-hider. Together, the two search for answers, safety and the lives they truly want to live.
“I doubt very much that the lengths of wood we nail together into a frame could be considered up to code, but we do the best we can. I suspect they will take it all apart and start over as soon as we are gone, but it looks good on camera since Jesus was a carpenter. Daddy would say that segments like this lend an air of humility to the show, but he says it while wearing a three-hundred-dollar tie, so I’m not entirely sure he knows what the word humility really means.”-Meghan MacLean Weir, The Book of Essie
Awards (based upon my brief research):
Finalist for the 2018 New England Book Award
My Overall Rating:
4 – This one really surprised me. I heard the words “reality TV star”, “teen pregnancy” and “secrets”, and I assumed it was a gossipy pit, but it was far from that. It pulled me in, had me rooting for characters, falling in love with characters, becoming fuming ticked off at characters and, ultimately, kept me coming back whenever I could until I knew how the story ended.
In fact, my only complaint might be the ending. One character, Liberty Bell, told her story amongst Essie’s story and I didn’t feel we needed to see that one through to the end. When her conclusion came up, I was annoyed some of the final pages were wasted on that. Her story was relevant, sure, but it wasn’t necessary to give every resolution at the end. I also thought Essie’s conclusion – the very end – was predictable. I was ok with that to some extent, because it’s what I wanted for her, but I always like a book that keeps me guessing right up to the very end.
All-in-all, it’s a solid read and I would definitely recommend it.