by Tami Lewis Brown
The note Momma left on the fridge says only: “I HAVE TO GO.” But go where? Twelve-year-old Margie is convinced that Momma’s gone to the Rooster Romp at the International Poultry Hall of Fame, in search of additions to her precious flock of chicken memorabilia. And it’s up to Margie to bring her home. So she commandeers her daddy’s Faithful Ford, kidnaps her nine-year-old sister, Peep, and takes to the open road.
As she navigates the back roads of Kentucky with smarty-pants Peep criticizing her every move, Margie also travels along the highways and byways of her heart, mapping a course to help understand Momma—and herself.
There’s nothing more interesting to me than sister stories. Maybe it’s because I have two of my own and can relate well, even if it’s a bit more outlandish or different than my own experiences. And this book seemed like quite an adventure for two sisters to have.
Once I started reading, I related to Margie because she reminded me of my older sister. A bit impulsive, kind of mean and definitely the type to act out for attention. I was like Peep growing up, only a heck of a lot less chatty. She definitely fit the annoying little sister profile.
I love the snapshot ways that this book shows their history. Margie’s memories of how Peep intruded on her when growing up, being in the same grade as her, but many years younger.
It’s an emotional ride, with the reader delving deep into Margie’s head. The way she perceives her parents, her sister, and the way her family relates to one another. And she sets out to save her mother, the one who felt like glue to her, keeping her family together and somewhat normal, even with her own queer habits, like collecting hen and chicken paraphernalia. So when her “I have to go” letter is written on the back of a collectable hen ad, she knows she must go there to find her mother.
It’s definitely a ride and I can’t believe how brave Margie is to take off with her father’s car and resistant sister to find her mother.
The Map of Me is a book that appeals to anyone with sisters, or strange mothers, or smooth working fathers. Definitely a book I will be recommending to my students.
Stay tuned for an interview with Tami and a giveaway!