Meghan Powers is mostly happy and comfortable with her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her father and her two younger brothers. Her mother, a high-profile Senator, is away from home most of the time -- and though it's hard on every member of the family, it is what it is, and they're all used to it.
But now everything is about to change. Because Meg's mother is running for president.
Although The President's Daughter originally came out back in 1984, it didn't appear on my radar until the recent reissue. Wow, was I missing out -- it's a fantastic, fantastic book, I adored it unreservedly and I'm now dying to read the next three books, along with anything else Ellen Emerson White has written*. Grocery lists, even. I'll read her grocery lists.
I suspect I'm going to have a difficult time doing anything other than gush here.
I loved that this was a book not just about the Powers family adjusting to being in the spotlight 24/7 and the idea that every single thing they do in public now has political ramifications (even more than usual), but also about the dynamics of the family itself. Meg isn't just adjusting to being the 16-year-old daughter of the first female president, to living a new city and attending a new school, she's also adjusting to living with her mother for an extended period of time. Despite how much I loved the interaction between all of the family members, between Meg and her best friend (they're hilarious) and between the Powers family and the campaign staff, it was Meg herself and her relationship with her mother that was the center of the book for me.
I loved that Meg -- even though she wishes her mother wasn't a politician, let alone President -- keeps herself extremely up-to-date on politics and is constantly reading about the history of politics. She does it partially because it makes it easier on her, yes, but it's also because she wants her knowledge, her behavior, to reflect well on her mother. And I loved that even though Meg and her mother have some serious relationship issues, they genuinely enjoy each other -- the opening scene where Meg asks her for a martini just killed me, and that was the moment I knew I was going to love the book.
Since I haven't read the original, I can't compare the two. I do know that the text was updated to bring the story into the present day, but I don't know the specifics for sure, though it's easy enough to guess what they are -- the mentions of Iraq, 9/11, DVDs and the internet certainly wouldn't have been in the 1984 edition. She kept a lot of the pop culture references, just throwing in a bit about how Meg had 'retro' tastes. Oddly enough, though, I thought the prose itself had kind of a '60s feel -- I kept thinking it felt like Louise Fitzhugh'd written about an older teen. I did think that odd sixties feel and the mentions of current events clashed a bit, but it was definitely not a serious enough clash to affect my glowing and sparkly opinion of the book as a whole. It's a book I would have read over and over and over again when I was in my early teens.
Oh, and as usual, Feiwel & Friends should be commended for the design and cover art -- I'm usually pretty low-key about mix and matching different editions, just as long as I have the complete story -- this is one of the rare instances in which I'll need a matched set.
*Okay, I might have to skip the Santa Paws series.