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Book Review: On Maggie’s Watch by Ann Wertz Garvin

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On Maggie’s Watch is author Ann Wertz Garvin’s debut novel about a dark subject but handled with lightness and humor. I was interested in the book because I normally find books that revolve around a small community and cast of characters fun to read. On Maggie’s Watch did not disappoint mainly because of main character Maggie’s over the top actions and reactions.

As someone who herself has gone online to see what sexual predators are residing in and around my neighborhood, I related with Maggie’s quest to keep her child and her neighborhood safe. I chuckled out loud picturing Maggie in her purple pajamas, on her bike, stalking the stalker and her handful of pranks. Her attempts at vigilante justice are humorous and yet also have a strong, serious undertone. In less capable hands, Maggie could have been a brash, borderline annoying character, but Ms. Wertz Garvin keeps her from falling in that precipice while also allowing her to remain very relatable, a commendable task.

I enjoyed the supporting characters, from best friend Julia whose no-nonsense personality allows her to tell it like it is to husband Martin who oftentimes seems oblivious to Maggie’s obsessive nature to the overzealous Beverly Finker and helpful handyman David. Personally I would have loved to read more about some of the neighbors — who knows what delicious secrets and dirt Maggie, heading up the Neighborhood Watch, could have learned — but the neighborhood cross between Melrose Place and a Fannie Flagg novel is simply too tasty to resist.

The best part of On Maggie’s Watch is Ms. Wertz Garvin’s writing style and overall story. She has taken a relevant and timely issue and managed to pen a thoughtful, funny and inspiring book. Maggie’s journey, as told through Ms. Wertz Garvin’s eyes, is worth the read — from her marriage teetering on the brink of disaster to the domino effect her Neighborhood Watch sets off to the deep affection she shares with her best friend. All ring true and will leave you, the reader, anxious to share in Maggie’s tale and desperate to know how it all ends.

For a debut novel On Maggie’s Watch is surprisingly poignant and sinfully rich with plotline and personality. It will strike a powerful chord in every parent out there, and every female will relate to the joy and fear pregnancy brings and the inate maternal instinct to protect your child at all costs. On Maggie’s Watch is worth the read, and I encourage you to pick it up.

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About Lori Hedgpeth