Errant Dreams Review, July 2008
“John Husband’s incredible Maggie Again…”
Pros: Wonderful characterization, sense of place & time; incredibly vivid & ‘real’
Rating: 5 out of 5
It’s tough to pin down the genre on John Husband’s Maggie Again. It’s a literary novel set partially in rural America in the 20s and partly in 80s urban New York. There are elements of time travel and the like, however, that could be considered anything from science fiction to fantasy or paranormal—even though the book doesn’t have a ‘feel’ traditionally associated with those genres. Ultimately, genre isn’t important except to make sure you don’t suffer the let-down often felt by those who think they’re reading one specific sort of book, only to discover it contains elements of something else entirely.
In 1926, when Maggie was 16, she moved with her family from rural Cobbler’s Eddy, Indiana, to New York, so her father could work on Wall Street. There she ended up living a largely unfulfilling and often tragic life, until one day a miracle happened. The three friends who’d disappeared after hopping a train to find her in the 20s appeared in New York in the present day—not having aged a day. She takes them in, helping them adjust to modern life, and then arranges for them all to return to their old hometown. But the weird and wild ride has only just begun…
When summed up like that, the story itself seems incredibly simple. Yet what makes it so amazing is the vivid pen with which it’s drawn. Maggie is an incredible individual—a spunky kid in the 20s, and a tough old broad in the 80s. Watching her prepare her friends for the difficulties of modern life, as well as share the miracles of it with them, is incredibly touching. The lengths she goes to in order to help her father realize his dreams are heart-warming. She’s a magnificent heroine for such a novel.
Life in the various eras and locales is bright and true, riveting. The tiniest details of life take on all the importance to the reader that they have to those who are right there, living them. Watching the characters go through culture shock as they travel through time is entrancing and all too real. This is a book that makes time travel feel entirely solid and real, but almost as an afterthought, because the fact of its happening isn’t nearly as important its effects on people and life. And in the process, the concepts of age and experience are explored in some fascinating ways.
I feel as though there’s so much more I want to say, but it’s one of those books that defies description. It isn’t an action-packed thrill-ride. It’s about people, not events. It’s an incredibly beautiful tale that makes you feel as though you’ve traveled through time yourself.
Reviewed by Josette, Books Love Me, 2008
When I read the synopsis for Maggie Again, I knew this was going to be a one-of-a-kind kind of book. And I was right! This book was an enjoyable and easy read. Great for reluctant readers.
From the title, it’s obvious that the story revolves around Maggie, an active and vivacious 16-year-old country girl from Cobblers Eddy, Indiana. She enjoys spending time with her three best friends, Tom, Gordie, and Alfie. She and Tom have some romantic thing going on. Alfie is some kind of psychic. Sometimes, he knows what’s going to happen in the future.
Maggie’s world was turned upside down when she found out that her dad was going to move to New York and she and her mom are going too. Initially, she hated the idea of going to live in New York but later she understood how much it would mean to her father to work there. So, they did move to New York.
Maggie also wrote a letter to Tom, asking him to come visit her as soon as possible. After that, Tom, Gordie and Alfie hopped onto a boxcar, which they thought was going to New York. Alfie began to hear some strange music and before they knew it, they arrived in New York. But they arrived in the year 1984. They left Indiana in 1926. This means that they had traveled through time. Interesting, huh?
Meanwhile, in 1926, Maggie found out that the three boys had left Indiana to visit her. But they never came to New York. After weeks of their disappearance, they were declared dead and Maggie moved on with life. She got married and had a son. But she was not happy. She still wished she could see her three childhood friends again.
Well, she did meet them in 1984 when she’s already an old lady and the boys are still teenagers. The whole thing seemed completely bizarre for them. Totally unbelievable but it was hard to not to believe since they were all right in front of one another.
So, how do you think it’ll all work out? How will the relationship between Tom and Maggie develop? While reading, I wondered if Maggie will become young again. I wondered if it’s just all a dream for Maggie, Tom, Gordie, and Alfie. That kept me turning the pages.
Reviewed by A Reader’s Journal, 2008
I was into this story within the first few pages. I connected with the main character, I was intrigued with the premise of the book and I loved the idyllic setting of Cobblers Eddy, Indiana in 1926. Life is good for Maggie and her friends until she learns of her dad's plan to move.
When her father gets the chance to live his dreams Maggie's family moves to Upper East Side of New York City. Maggie is supportive of her father's dream and unselfishly helps those dreams come true, but once in New York, Maggie and her mother are not happy with their new lifestyle. Maggie writes a letter to her young sweetheart, Tom, to bring Alfie and Gordie and come visit her. They hop a ride in a boxcar of a train. And that's when things go awry.
I really enjoyed this unique time-travel story. I'd love it if the author wrote a sequel that continued the story of Maggie and Tom and their friends. To add to the story experience there's a website all about the author, the book, and further info about Maggie.
Somewhere I learned after finishing a book to go back and reread the quote at the front of the book. This one was a real kicker: "If youth but knew and age but could. --Henri Estienne, 1594" Imagine if you had all the knowledge and experience of a 74-yr-old woman in a 16-yr-old body. That is a reality for Maggie/Margaret. What will she do with it?
Reviewed on Amazon by Sheila Schneider, 2008
A wonderful, joyful read!!!
When I finished Maggie Again I had a smile on my face. I LOVED IT!!!! I was sorry for it to end -- I miss Cobblers Eddy already. This story is one of the most joyful stories I have ever read. I must admit, as a fan of novels, I was a little skeptical, this being John Husband's first novel, and I wasn't expecting to rave about the book. But John's ears should have been burning all week. I told so many people about this wonderful book I was reading and said to them that the end better be as good as the whole story -- and, lo and behold, it was!
When Maggie was trying to convince her dad about the circumstances of her life, I thought of the one thing Maggie could say to convince him and any other skeptics. And there it was in the end, her ace in the hole. I will miss Maggie, Tom, Gordie, and Alfie. And I would love to see Maggie's dad's face in 1929 when her "predictions" turn out to be true. He would feel that he really dodged a bullet, wouldn't he -- as well as never doubting Maggie again!
Even thinking about this story makes me smile. I wish there were more books like this -- one that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, a book that grabs your imagination.
Blue Archipelago (London) review by Mrs. S., May 2008
Rating: 5 stars - a complete surprise, but I loved this book!
When Maggie Again arrived in the post from America I opened it eagerly. It had me hooked from the first page.
Husband opens the novel with a description of Cobblers Eddy; a place where:
“…passing motorists… catch a glimpse of clothes strung on a line in the back yard and of barefoot children with dirty faces frolicking about unattended and think they have had a privileged peek into the past.
“They smile wistfully, perhaps, and drive on by.
“Its a timeless place, this Cobblers Eddy, isolated, self sufficient, unchanged, and unchanging.”
This book is a heartwarming and somewhat magical book about Maggie, her boyfriend Tom, his brother Alfie and their friend Gordie. When her father gets the opportunity to make it big on Wall Street Maggie, must leave her friends behind and move to the Big City. A few months later her friends jump on a boxcar for a free ride to the city, but when Maggie sees them again 58 years have passed.
Its hard to review this book without giving any of the detail away - and ruining the experience for you - so I’ll simply tell you what you need to know. This book is a pleasure to read, it is relaxing and tranquil, its heartwarming and magical, its an insight into how life used to be - back in the days when life was simple and people lived without automatic washing machines, Kleenex and Calvin Kleins. So what are you waiting for? Head out to the store and buy yourself a copy!
Reviewed by “Age 30 – A Year of Books” June 2008
Yesterday I read Maggie Again, by John Husband. And yes, I do mean that I read ALL of it yesterday. It's a quick read - only 240 pages - and lots of fun. Here's what you need to know ...
Sixteen year old Maggie lives an idyllic farm life in 1926. Her father gets a new job and suddenly the family is living in New York City. Maggie's three best friends, boys from her home town, hitch a ride on a train to visit her in her new home ... but they never arrive. We find Maggie again in 1984 when she is 74 years old. She's just received news that may shed light on the fate of her childhood friends.
I'll stop there because I don't want to give anything away. If you're interested in reading this, I'd suggest that you NOT read the summary on the back of the book - to me it gives too much away.
This is a great vacation book, one that would be perfect for a quick weekend getaway. It's a fun, easy read and I couldn't put it down.