A novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.
Clearly there’s a lot going on [within The Book of Essie and it is a testament to author Meghan Weir’s firm hand on the tiller of her plot that it never gets confusing. Indeed, her novel is nothing if not readable ... Without a deeper exploration of the behaviors she describes, Ms. Weir has created a novel better adapted to young adults ready to engage with dilemmas and take the high road to solutions rather than to questioning readers, who may prefer to walk the low road explanation. Nonetheless the tight plot and the inspirational ethos will make this novel, Ms. Weir’s first, an attractive candidate for summer entertainment.
Debut novelist Meghan Maclean Weir delivers a page-turning tale informed by her background as a preacher’s daughter. She divides the story among three young narrators: Essie, her potential groom, and a journalist covering the show. It’s a good device, but Weir struggles to create three distinct voices. Readers also may flinch at her occasional swipes at evangelical churches and the fictional show’s resemblance to the real-life 19 Kids and Counting. Even so, the story’s fast pace and plot twists will hold readers until Essie’s episode comes to its dramatic end.
[A] gripping page-turner that will have readers rooting for Essie's freedom, and her baby's safety, at ever surprising turn. But what The Book of Essie offers readers is more than entertainment. It offers us a chance to explore our deep-rooted obsession with fame and celebrity, with reality television and its stars. The novel forces us to ask what role we play in creating them, and in turn, what responsibility we have for any pain or trauma they might cause.