Maggie Again by John D. Husband

When an elderly woman’s childhood friends show up, miraculously unaged since she last saw them 60 years prior, she realizes she has a chance to correct the tragic mistakes made by her father those many years ago.

The brief on this book made it sound like a family adventure, and for the first half it read like a charming piece of Americana. Small town life, stowaways in a boxcar, the stock market crash of 1929. But the mood was shattered by a passage in the middle depicting the New York City of the mid-1980s–complete with a detailed description of a bondage shop and its merchandise, references to drugs and pornography, and profanities. This was a huge misstep. The rest of the book is not edgy enough to hold up to this portion, and this portion renders it completely inappropriate for the younger readers who would enjoy everything else about it.

The book also had some structural flaws. It would have been nice if it had kicked off the time travel plot point much, much earlier in the story, perhaps as the inciting incident of the book. It’s such a compelling premise, and sadly squandered in favor of describing Maggie’s family’s move to New York City in far too much detail.

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