I wanted to read the novel Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir for a while now. Recently, I finally was able to pick that book up, and absolutely loved it.
The novel is about Esther Anne “Essie” Hicks, who spent her entire life in front of the camera from her family’s reality show, Six for Hicks. The family is a combination of the Duggars and the Kardashians – if you can picture such a thing. Essie’s father is a pastor, while her mother is a “mom”-ager.
The novel begins when seventeen-year-old Essie finds out that she is pregnant, and her mother, Celia tries to figure out what is the best course of action. Should they pretend that it’s Celia’s? Should she go away for nine months? Or, should they marry her off to an unsuspecting boy?
Soon enough, Essie is engaged to be married to Roarke – someone in her class who is hiding a big secret of his own. However, with the help of journalist Liberty Banks, Essie soon tries to take down her family and their big web of cover-ups.
Before I review this book, I will warn that there are several trigger warnings in this novel for those who have been raped or suffered sexual abuse.
I really liked the novel. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews online and on the bookstagram accounts that I have been following, and many have said that the book was too slow. That was not the case for me. The book held my interest until the end.
One of the biggest mysteries for me while reading this was wondering who the father of Essie’s baby was. Seeing how her family was, I just thought that it was someone that they didn’t approve of her being with for whatever reason. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but I was wrong. Really wrong.
The story was told in three points of view – Essie’s, Roarke’s, and Liberty’s. These three people definitely didn’t cross paths together much beforehand. At first, you wonder why they even exist. Over time, you suddenly realize the importance of the three points of view. Furthermore, I thought the insight of Liberty – someone who is a survivor of a cult – truly added to the story.
However, I thought this story was really believable. It was interesting to see how much fame could truly change a family – even one as religious as the Hicks. Throughout the novel, you see several different ideals of conservative Christianity, including: homophobia, abstinence, and the idea that boys will be boys and women have to maintain their virtue.
When someone is as famous and as wealthy as the Hicks family is, the line between right and wrong is erased and replaced by the desire of maintaining appearances. I believe that clouded their judgement, and created half of the problem that Essie experienced.
Overall, I did enjoy this novel, and thought that it was extremely thought-provoking. Therefore, if you’re debating about reading this novel, I say go ahead and do it. Trust me, it is definitely worth it.