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Reviewed by Nino Lobiladze for Readers' Favorite
Maggie's Story by Diana Stout tells us about a young girl from the Bowery, an impoverished suburb of New York. The events take place at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Maggie lives in poverty. She struggles to get an education and, later, to find a job. Today, we would call her family dysfunctional. Her parents drink heavily and often fight. It leads to fatal consequences for Maggie's infant brother, Patrick. After losing him, she leaves school to take care of her other sibling, Tommie. Despite being a good-looking girl with a dream for a better life, Maggie lacks confidence and makes wrong choices. She desperately needs a friend and fails to find one in her older brother, Jimmie, whom she admires. Our task is to find enough courage to listen to her voice.
When opening Maggie's Story, prepare yourself for a very powerful read. It is short, but the gifted Diana Stout knows how to grasp the immensity perfectly well. From the very first pages, we learn that Maggie's tale is tragic. Stout depicted the enormous sadness of Maggie's life in simple words that sounded almost poetic. I liked the way that she builds a bridge between the turn of the last century and modern times, concluding that the hypocrisy of society and the misery of a lonely soul are ageless. Although I didn't quite understand the identity of "the author" to whom Maggie often refers, it didn't take away my enjoyment of reading this exceptional novella, which asks heart-wrenching questions, urging us to find the necessary answers and show the light to those lost in the darkness. This perfectly edited book would resonate with readers who enjoy psychologically revealing prose of the highest level.