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Excerpts from “Second Helpings” by Megan McCafferty

June 11, 2011

I read Megan McCafferty’s excellent coming of age novel, Second Helpings, several years ago. As I read, I put sticky tab notes next to passages I really liked. Here they are.

“See, when I have too many choices, it’s my own fault if I make the wrong one. I am much better when decisions have been made for me. It not only gives me the right to complain, but a sense that I’ve had to overcome overwhelming odds in the struggle to become the success that I am.”

“When I really want something, I mean, really, really want something, I just can’t believe that I’ll ever actually get it. I think that’s why I so rarely really really want something. I try not to address my desires. If I deny, deny, deny then I have no reason to be disappointed when I don’t get it, right?”

“I think I’m an outcast inasmuch as I want to be left alone by people I can’t stand, which isn’t the same thing as social ostracization, is it?”

“As much as I’ve bitched about not fitting in, and being an outsider among the insiders, I now realize that it was probably for the best. I mean is there anything more pathetic than peaking at eighteen?”


A few thoughts: The reason I’m writing this is so that I can let the book go. I don’t want to re-read it, because, as you can probably tell from the above excerpts, it’s a book with a lot of overwrought teenage navel-gazing. Mostly, Jessica the protagonist, worries about her future and her choices, and pines for a boy, Marcus Flutie, who’s more pretentious than she is.

And, as I typed these up, I’ve got to admit, I still have moods encapsulated perfectly by Jessica’s questioning, frustrated, insecure voice. Which is why this novel is a good read, no matter how far from 17 or 18 or teenage true love you might be. McCafferty gets it.

That said, I’m going to be ruthless and not keep the book on my shelf. Will be donating it to the library. Possibly, with these sticky tabs still in the book. Let them wonder!

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