Arts & Entertainment

Lurlene McDaniel’s Stories of Overcoming Mortality and Preserving Love

I began reading Lurlene McDaniel’s heart-wrenching books in middle school and I can’t really say I have been hooked ever since because I haven’t read her books ever since. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading them because I absolutely loved them. Honestly, I thought I had read all her books in middle school and then about a couple of months ago I came upon an article about her and read that she is still publishing books. What a fool I was. I began diving back into her books recently and she still has the same elements in her more recent books of overcoming life’s adversities through love and optimism. As a 12 year-old I wasn’t exactly mature enough to understand the dynamic emotions each of the characters displayed but having read one of her books recently, “Till Death Do Us Part,” my eyes have opened to the inspiration and complexity of her books. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is that I still cry like a baby while reading her books. A lot of readers don’t know about Lurlene McDaniel since her books fit into the specific niche of ‘Young Adult” but I realized her books shouldn’t be categorized under any niche because almost anyone can relate to the difficulties the characters endure and this element is what makes her books so realistic and genuine.

Lurlene McDaniel was born on April 5, 1944 in Philadelphia and began writing young adult books when her son Sean was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the tender age of three. This illness that her son had to endure changed her perspective on life. Based on her experiences McDaniel wanted to portray the lives of chronically ill people in her books and she has stated that writing has been therapeutic. In her book, “The Time Capsule,” McDaniel writes about twins Alexis and Adam and the struggles that ensue when one twin is diagnosed with leukemia. In order to be certain that her books are medically accurate, McDaniel conducts extensive research and interviews health care professionals. She also cites the Bible in order to instill a human element in her books as well as to portray the optimism and faith she had experienced living with her son’s illness.

McDaniel still currently publishes books, her most recent one being “The Year of Luminous Love” which will hit shelves in May 2013. McDaniel has also ventured away from her particularly “innocent” books and wrote “Prey” in 2010 which is about the thrilling romance between a teenage boy and his dangerously seductive teacher. Although it is quite the page-turner, I prefer the deep message her stories that are about overcoming illness in families possess. My favorite book thus far is “How Do I Love Thee” published in 2002, which includes three separate stories about three young couples who find love and preserve it even when faced with life’s struggles. Each story is unique but equally dynamic in its characters trials and tribulations. The romantic and dreamy covers of her books do not exactly invite serious adult readers but the cliché never judge a book by its cover goes very far with McDaniel’s books because she is truly a hidden gem in the literary world.


Illustration by Danielle Burch