Book of Essie
According to ratings, sixteen-year-old Esther Ann Hicks-Essie is the most likeable member of her famous reality show, “Six for Hicks” family. Obsessed with the family’s public image, Essie’s mother, Celia, strives to keep their show’s ratings up and their audience engaged season after season. Between the family’s fundamentalist beliefs and strict on-camera schedule, Essie has little say in what happens in her own life. But when her mother discovers that Essie is pregnant, the power dynamic shifts and suddenly the carefully crafted “Six for Hicks” empire threatens to collapse.
This captivating novel is told from the point of view of three young protagonists-each of whom must forge their own way to freedom through the mess left in the wake of their families extremism.
Meghan MacLean Weir has made quite a stir in the literary world with this debut novel and I must say I am also impressed. When I first picked up this book, I expected drama and the intrepid scrutiny of reality television, but I wasn’t expecting such exquisitely paced suspense. It was riveting but tastefully-written with boldness but also compassion. The novel came to me highly recommended from a well-read retired librarian and has lent itself well for discussion as the selection for January’s book talk at the Osage Branch. The author’s background as a physician and also a pastor’s daughter fascinated me and made certain that the biblical parallels in this novel were deliberate and sophisticated. The biblical Esther made a plan to deliver her people. I highly recommend reading The Book of Essie to find out just how Essie’s plans of deliverance unfold.