Saturday night I was having a bit of a meltdown: I was really stressed out by something–probably in greater part by being inside too much with the quarantine!–so I hid away in my room and read. Ahhh. Lovely, quiet retreat. And I finished reading Maggie’s Door–which gave me a little more perspective on my own tiny problems.
Maggie’s Door is the second book in a 3-book series by Patricia Reilly Giff (Nory Ryan’s Song, Maggie’s Door, Water Street) about two families who emigrate from Ireland to the United States after nearly starving to death in the Great Famine of 1845-49.
Nory Ryan, a young woman about 12 or 13 years old, receives a ticket to sail to America to join the rest of her family who have voyaged there. Her oldest sister, Maggie, is married and already lives in Brooklyn, New York. Sean Red, who is Nory’s best friend and the younger brother of Maggie’s husband, is also trying to get to Maggie’s home. The book tells of their dangerous journey crossing the Atlantic.
I loved this book! While the story is fictitious, about a million Irish people did emigrate during the potato famine, and their journeys to America were fraught with difficulty. Reading this story helped me feel gratitude for those young and old who sacrificed so much, endured so much, and overcame so many obstacles to build a new life here. Surely we have built upon the foundation built by people like Nory Ryan and Sean Red.
A tale of selflessness, faith, and grit, Maggie’s Door will help readers better understand the mettle of so many immigrants. It can inspire younger generations to honor their ancestors and have greater respect for refugees who are making similarly precious journeys to freedom.