Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Review: Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White

Book: Long May She Reign
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Published: 2007

Meg Powers has not had a good year.

Last spring, she was kidnapped by terrorists, brutalized and tortured over a period of thirteen days. What’s worse, her own mother refused to negotiate for her. Why? Because her mother is the President of the United States.

Now, after a dramatic and grueling escape, Meg has turned into Humpty-Dumpty, trying to put herself back together again. There are plenty of the President’s horses and men to take care of the physical aspects--a shattered knee and hand--but the hardest recovery is inside. Dealing with psychological fallout, new physical limitations, homesickness, the media, and the ever-constant pain, Meg has to wonder. Is it even possible to be herself again?

Okay, this book? Was amazing. I read the first book in the series lo these many years ago (The President’s Daughter) and never knew that there were two sequels (White House Autumn and Long Live the Queen). But when I heard this was coming down the pike, I remembered Meg well enough to put it right on my list.

Ellen Emerson White avoids a cliché by having Meg not only know her mother’s decision not to negotiate, but understand and, even in a way, approve of it. Some other authors would have turned the book into a war between mother and daughter, an angsty “You love the United States more than you love meeeeee,” annoy-a-thon, with the appropriately weepfest reunion scene at the end. White gives everyone, including the readers, more credit than this.

It’s not a plot book, by a long shot. Not much actually happens. Meg goes to her brothers’ ball games, she goes to PT, talks with friends and family, goes to college . . . there are some exciting events, sure, but by and large this is a character book, and the character surely is Meg Powers. Proud, vulnerable, sarcastic, strong-willed, exhausted, and blessed with a core of temprered steel, Meg’s many-layered character makes the long journey back to something like life a compelling one.

I’d recommend this for older YA’s, sixteen and up, who enjoy dry humor, a savvy and intelligent protagonist, and an intimate look behind the scenes of one of the most public institutions in the world.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Loved this book. Loved.