Maggie Now, written by Betty Smith
This review contains spoilers…..
My most recent read was Maggie Now, by Betty Smith. I chose this book because it was the one book by her that I had yet to read. My favorite book of all time is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (which if you haven’t read yet, you should!), which is also by Betty Smith and is her most known work.
Maggie Now supposedly mirrors the life of our author which is a fact I didn’t find out until after reading and it brought some perspective and life to the story. The story starts back in the very late 1800’s with her father, Pat, as the main character, he is a young lad in Ireland at the time and struggling to know what to make of his life. He is a sneaky, conniving boy and while I think many may find compassion for him, I only found disgust. Pat doesn’t do too well in Ireland so he decides to make the journey to the US where for once he’s going to have to earn his keep. Pat finds a job and a girl and settles down, but keeps himself as the main focus of his life. At this point in the story, his wife takes over as the main character. She is a kind and loving wife whom he doesn’t deserve (in my honest opinion). She is faithful and loving in the best way she knows.
Together the two of them have a daughter, Maggie, whom is our heroine. An unlikely one at that. Maggie grows up through the course of the book. She is a questioning child, but an obedient one. Her mother seems, at times, exhausted by her. Her daughter is very literal and her sense of humor is lacking. But in Maggie’s plainness there is beauty. She has a lovely heart, and cares very deeply for those around her.
When Maggie is sixteen, her mother does the unexpected and has a baby and dies just a few short days later. Instead of passing the baby on to another family member, Maggie’s father declares that she will quit going to school and raise her brother. This causes quite the stir in their small neighborhood, those not knowing her before question if the child is hers and not her late mothers and those who did know her, take pity because she did not seem to have a say in the matter. All in all though, Maggie is a giver and is all but too happy to leave school and take care of young Denny. All his childhood and youth, Maggie pours her love into Denny and it shows. While he grows up to be somewhat rough around the edges, he makes a good man and a good husband to his wife. But Denny is just part of Maggie’s story.
Next comes Claude. Claude Basset shows up in Maggie’s life in the form of a salesman and she falls for him hook, line and sinker. He falls for her as well, and the union between the two is so unlikely and bizarre that you have to keep reading just to see what in the heck happens. While claiming to love her, he often goes away without warning and stays away for long periods of time. The book waits FOREVER to tell why he keeps leaving and it leaves the reader wondering if perhaps he has some second family out there, which thinking about it now, we only have his word to go on…… Either way, I didn’t like him. He was a skeeze.
This book as a whole I would say disappointed me. I love the time period and the tiny bits of information on that which get thrown in. But the story made me sad. I suppose it’s a story to show, that not everything in life will be what you envision and you have to be ok with that. There is heartache and there is joy, but the two must intermix.
Until next time….
Currently reading “A Lineage of Grace” by Francine Rivers