The Meaning of Maggie by Megan J Sovern

Maggie is overachieving, precocious and very funny. She has been given a beautiful leather-bound journal for her 12th birthday. Naturally, she decides to start documenting her life for when she becomes President of the United States of America.

Maggie begins by documenting the year before she turned 12, taking us back to the moment when her 11th birthday doesn’t kick off as planned. An announcement from her parents makes her feel a little anxious: Maggie’s dad has quit his job and instead her mum is going to take up employment. Maggie isn’t completely sure what’s going on, but she is pretty sure it has to do with her dad’s arms and legs, which are now ‘sleeping’, and keeping him wheelchair-bound. Not willing to let things lie, Maggie takes it upon herself to find out what is wrong with her dad and how to cure him.

The Meaning of Maggie is a beautiful book about a warm, caring and loving family living with a loved one who has multiple sclerosis. Maggie is a hilarious character whose voice resonates perfectly with the confusion and anxiety that an 11-year-old might feel living with a parent with an unexplained illness. Highly recommended for ages 11 and up.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.