When crisis strikes, where can you turn for comfort? If friends who bring you chocolate aren’t quite enough, and assuming that you’re a bibliophile like me, you’ll probably resort to one of your favourite books. In the manifestation of someone else’s imagination, you’ll escape your own life for just a little while. By the time you finish reading, the world will seem a little bit lighter.
Today is the anniversary of my mom’s death, so I offer an ode to my favourite source of literary comfort – Meg Cabot.
Meg is probably best well known for The Princess Diaries series, which Disney reinterpreted for the screen. Her body of work extends far beyond Mia’s adventures, however. Meg writes everything from middle-grade novels, to teen paranormal, to women’s fiction. She’s so prolific that she’s one of very few writers I have a hard time keeping up with.
The Heather Wells series – about a pop star who gained weight, was dumped by her label, and now solves murders – is one of my favourites. I also adore The Mediator series for teens. If Jesse weren’t a ghost, and, well, fictional, Tech Support would be in serious trouble. Edward Cullen has nothing on Jesse.
As a writer, I’m in absolute awe of Meg’s ability to create fully-rounded, incredibly detailed portraits of her characters – most of whom are people I’d love to know in real life. Her narrative voices are consistent and true, and I’ve learned a great deal about writing from studying her books.
As a reader, I turn to Meg’s work when I need something light, funny, and soothing as a chat with an old friend. Her writing is like a soft blanket, a cup of tea, and a tub of coconut milk ice cream all rolled into one. And in addition to being a fabulous writer, Meg is also a very classy human being.
My mother passed away in 2009. My family wanted to display her nurse’s cap at the funeral, but her class pin had left a rust stain on the delicate white fabric. The cap was too fragile for dry-cleaning, but thanks to Queen of Babble, in which Lizzie removes rust stains using a solution of cream of tartar, I knew what to do. Mom’s cap was crisp and blemish-free.
I emailed Meg, that day, to let her know about the key role she’d played in making the service perfect. I didn’t expect a response, but she wrote me back just a few hours later, expressing her sympathies and wishing me well. That a total (and busy) stranger would take that kind of time for me made my life seem a little less bleak, just as her books have made many stressful life events a lot more fun.
If you’ve never read a Meg Cabot book, buy one today. It won’t be long before she’s become your favourite literary hug, too.
What book, author, movie, or TV show do you turn to when you need cheering up? Post your recommendations in the comments.