I finished this a week ago and was so filled with thoughts about it, that I hope I still have them. Where to begin? Well, first I think Ellen Emerson White is a fantastic author. And before I get into this book, and its predecessors, let me put in a plug for The Long Road Home. It’s a great big fat thick satisfying novel that I always liked because it was clearly for older teens/younger adults, as it is about a young woman returning from a Vietnam tour of duty (as a nurse.) She finds that the U.S. is not that kind to her, she suffers from post traumatic stress, and she has grown up in ways that the other young women she went to school with have not. A very rich good novel. And, now that I think about it, it certainly shares some similarities with Long May She Reign.
So, when I was a kid I read a book that I loved called The PResident’s Daughter. I loved it because it was so behind-the-scenesy and I’ve always liked that sort of thing and am fascinated by what it would be like to live in the White House. So when that book came out I was thrilled. In fact my mom and brother read it, too. The other thing that I was quite taken with was how witty and funny the main character, Meg, is, as well as the rest of her family. I read the second and third books, as well, and the third book took quite a dark turn-as Meg is kidnapped and tortured. It was pretty intense. That came out a pretty long time ago (why can’t I find the copyright on amazon??), so it was a total surprise when this new book came out like 15 years later. And, as you can see, I gave the book quite a buildup. It definitely did not disappoint.
In a nutshell: Meg and her family try to cope with the effects of the kidnapping (disability, post traumatic stress syndrome, fractured familiar relationships, etc.) and Meg goes to college. Meg’s college experience is, on the one hand, very typical of college and would be great for a high school student to read. I, of course, was more into the secret service stuff. Anyway, my heart was breaking for Meg and then something dreadful happened. I started to feel annoyed with her. She was so stubborn, so stoic, that eventually I felt not at all sorry for her when her injuries worsened. Why wasn’t she getting psychiatric counseling? I meank, enough is enough. Get this girl some help and make her accept it. I suppose that is part of the story, though-her mom, as President of the U.S., is really not stepping up to bat as mom should. Also, we all know that when you read a novel you bring your own experiences to it. So, I completely stopped having sympathy for her when I realized that despite being crippled, tormented by nightmares and flashbacks, and burdened with guilt, Meg still managed to score a sexy boyfriend her freshman year, is so incredibly smart she effortlessly gets As and wows her professors. And forget gaining the freshman 15-she basically becomes anorexic from depression and pain. Oh, I also wondered how I so loved this character when I first met her because she was an incredible athlete and that’s what a lot of her depression is also about-now that she can’t be an athlete what can she do. Yeah, I cannot relate in any way shape or form to that.
Even though I ultimately was bugged by Meg it was still a wonderful, rich novel and I encourage everyone to read White’s books!