Book club: The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

Book club: The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of Essie

By Meghan MacLean Weir

Published June 2018

I borrowed this book from my local library. Get a library card and use it!

This review contains slight spoilers and references to sex abuse

I really loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. I know most people say that about the books they read but I generally have no problem putting a book down and walking away if it bores me in the slightest. Often I don’t pick books back up. For the Book of Essie I sat down around 10 a and began reading. I closed the book around 6 p that evening having stopped only for a few minutes at a a time to move around and take a shower.

Not only was the book great, but it is timely. The story follows a young girl who is part of a religious mega family that has its own reality TV show. If you thought of the Duggars, so did I.

I bring up the Duggar family because The Book of Essie is largely about sex abuse and how it is covered up when families, especially prominent families are allowing it to happen in their own homes. Much like the Duggars, Essie’s family was complicit in her abuse and exploitation. One of the major plot points in the story was the question of who else knew it was happening and did nothing. The names on that list continued to grow up until the last few chapters and it’s heartbreaking because of the reality behind it.

Essie, the main character is clever, a survivor, and intensely compassionate. Essie is pregnant and needs to figure out what to do about it since the media covers her family’s every move and she’s an unmarried highschooler. She comes up with a plan years in advance just for this scenario and she executes it beautifully considering the terrible reality. Essie, while manipulative and scheming, is lovable. This is because we know Essie’s motives without her initially revealing them. She wants to escape her abuser, her family, and she wants her baby to be safe. She finds this safety in a classmate, Roarke who also wants to escape.

Roarke is lovable and teaches us a lot about the hypocrisy of reality TV and the people who love and hate it. Roarke also offers a few teaching moments about using other people to make a point. The love story between Roarke and Essie is not romantic, but it is something better, its about love between friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better love story, especially because a romantic one would have been tasteless and wrong all things considered.

The only confusing portion of the novel was the character Libby, a reformed religious fanatic. Libby’s role in the story was clear to begin with, to be the only journalist that interviews Essie and to help Essie find her sister. Her secondary roles become evident later in the story and the large chunks of the book dedicated to her suddenly have purpose. Libby’s story line is parallel to Essie’s in an unusual way and while it was confusing at first. It felt incredibly rewarding at the end even though Libby’s purpose is practically spoon fed to us in the last few chapters.

I loved this book and have already recommended it to many people. Its timeliness, criticism or reality TV, and lessons are beautifully executed and ultimately teach us that passing judgement too quickly is at the heart of hate and silence is complicity.

 

 

Why I am Becoming a Minimalist

Why I am Becoming a Minimalist

I used to be a maximalist through and through, I thought there was some kind of prestige in having a shit-ton of things. I have realized through minimalism that the number of things you own doesn’t make you better or worse than anyone else. I am becoming a minimalist because its what is truly comfortable for me.

I grew up in a maximalist home

Growing up  I have always been surrounded by stuff. My family home has an office that served as a dumping ground for things we didn’t know what to do with but wouldn’t get rid of (eventually things would go, and more would fill their place). Our garage has a loft packed with things we got when my Great Grandma Lena Died and things my brother and I outgrew. My own bedroom was overflowing with clothes, furniture, and collectibles. Continue reading “Why I am Becoming a Minimalist”

Update On My Nail Biting Habit

Update On My Nail Biting Habit

Since I opened up about my Nail Biting Habit  in October, I decided the least I could do is update you on how I’m doing now that the new year has begun.

As a recap, I have been a nail biter for as long as I have had teeth. In August 2018, I decided I would try getting gel manicures as a last attempt to break the habit. I love gel manicures because the gel polish is just polish. It’s not an acrylic, its hardy, and if my nail snags or breaks, I can just trim and file it smooth. Continue reading “Update On My Nail Biting Habit”

Why I don’t Wear Padded Bras: Curate a Wardrobe That is Comfortable

Why I don’t Wear Padded Bras: Curate a Wardrobe That is Comfortable

I only wear soft cup and wireless bras. Since my breast reduction, I have had very few padded and underwired bras. They weren’t comfortable and wearing them made me anxious. I bought a really nice one at my first fitting after my reduction, but wore it only a handful of times until the cups got too big when my breasts settled. I bought one other after that and I wore it maybe two times.

Why I Don’t Wear Padded Bras

The reason I never wore these bras had little to do with physical comfort (I bought a wireless padded bra and it didn’t make a difference in my emotional comfort). While physical comfort was important, it came down to being comfortable emotionally and mentally with the appearance of my breasts. Continue reading “Why I don’t Wear Padded Bras: Curate a Wardrobe That is Comfortable”

My Favorite Things About Winter

My Favorite Things About Winter

I hope everyone is as excited for the new year as I am!

As I promised in My Favorite Things About Fall post, I am blogging about my favorite things about winter.

I love winter, it’s my favorite time of the year and there are so many reasons why. I included my top five in this list so this post didn’t become a 30 page essay on why I love winter. Without further ado, let’s get into it. Continue reading “My Favorite Things About Winter”

My Thoughts on Christmas

My Thoughts on Christmas

I love winter, but I’ve never really loved Christmas. I find Christmas movies obnoxious and Christmas music grating like nails on a chalkboard. I hate red and green together, and the insane consumerism surrounding at least America’s Christmas is absurd. To say I can’t stand Christmas is an understatement. I still feel this way about all things stated above, but I’m learning to adapt Christmas to my needs and expectations and avoiding all other versions.

I haven’t been excited about Christmas in a long time. I used to be excited because it was a break from school and gifts were fun. Now, I dread the holiday season and can’t stand receiving gifts or the overwhelming onslaught of “Christmas cheer.” Continue reading “My Thoughts on Christmas”

How I Care For My Diabetic Cat

How I Care For My Diabetic Cat
Cat laying on a woman's lap in a red chair
If I’m in the living room, Sylvie is nearby or on my lap or belly. Ignore the cat hair on my lounge pants, you can’t escape the cat hair in my house.

My cat, Sylvie is sweet, does silly things, and is diabetic. Sylvie will be 11 years old in February and he’s been diabetic since 2016. He is happy and healthy and I had to change my lifestyle quite a bit to accommodate his needs. Having a diabetic cat is not a death sentence, it just requires more love and care than is normally expected for a cat. Continue reading “How I Care For My Diabetic Cat”