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More Than Meets the Eye

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“I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”
Excerpt from the poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings


Family relationships are one of the most important things you can have in life. Brothers, sisters, and other family members are the ones you can rely on for anything; they will help you through thick and thin. This is one of the many themes present in the novel, In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. Two sisters, Rose and Maggie Feller, couldn’t be more different from each other. Rose, a thirty-year-old successful lawyer at a Pennsylvania firm, has relied on her brains to get through life, not her looks. Maggie, on the other hand, is an unemployed woman trying to make a break in the acting business. She relies on others, especially her sister, to get her out of trouble and to often provide a place for her to live. The only thing in common between the sisters is that they wear the same size shoe, which Maggie makes use of quite often. In the story, Maggie begins living with Rose because of financial trouble and all seems to be going smoothly. Then disaster strikes when Rose comes home from work to find Maggie sleeping with her boyfriend. For Rose, this is the last stand and she kicks Maggie out. Maggie then makes her way to Boca Raton, Florida to live with a grandmother she never knew because of the early death of her mother. After different events occur, Maggie soon realizes the importance of having family relationships. She gets to know her grandmother and reconciles with Rose.

Maggie Feller, one of the main characters in this novel, has more to her than what meets the eye. But to some, her appearance can be a little misleading. She is twenty-eight-years-old and although she is unemployed and can’t seem to hold a job, she has one thing going for her, her looks. Looked upon by her family and friends as drop-dead gorgeous, her body is perfectly tanned and toned. One hundred and six pounds extended over a five foot six inch frame, Maggie has no trouble acquiring men. Tattoos adorn her body, such as the daisy on her lower back and “MOTHER” written on her right bicep. Another feature she has that is described in the book are her D-cup breasts, thanks to plastic surgery and the payment of an ex-boyfriend. Throughout the novel, she also wears revealing clothing such as a string bikini at a senior citizen home and thongs in her sister’s apartment. Because of her physical appearance, many men tend to flock towards Maggie, giving her a false sense of security. She feels her looks are the only attribute she has that will get her farther in life. But, by the end of the novel, Maggie’s appearance becomes just something she has, not something she uses to get what she wants. She learns important lessons, both from her grandmother and sister, on how looks aren’t everything. She puts this knowledge to good use, by beginning to read poetry, starting her own personal shopping business, and caring for senior citizens in the home where her grandmother lives. She doesn’t take advantage of people and takes the blame for her own trials and tribulations, not allowing others to take the fall for her. Maggie truly embraces the saying, “more than what meets the eye” by not letting her looks take control of her life, instead relying on brains and the goodness of her heart to succeed. Maggie also proves that she indeed loves Rose by making Rose’s wedding dress from scratch and reading the poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings at Rose’s wedding. Beautifully recited, this was the part in the novel where Maggie and Rose finally restored their relationship.
Overall, this novel was exceptional with so many interesting characters. The book and the character of Maggie showed me how important it is to have positive relationships with people, something I have taken for granted more than once in my lifetime. Many lessons can be learned from this literary work and therefore I believe everyone should read it. Hopefully, like Maggie, they too can say to the ones they love and care about, “I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).”





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English Teacher said...
May 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm
This is a wonderful essay outlining the major themes in this book. The essay provides insightful commentary on the impact of postitive relationships and the struggles we face as members of a family. I will add this to my list of books to read.
 
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