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Mette Ivie Harrison Biography (1970-) - Sidelights

monster natalie book published

Middle-grades author Mette Ivie Harrison has known since she was in kindergarten that she wanted to be a writer. As she told SATA, her dream got another boost at age eleven, when her older sister married picture book writer Rick Walton, who gave her tips on writing and being published. Harrison even sent a book off to a A foster family and the discipline of running allow thirteen-year-old Natalie to believe she can live a normal life despite her past with an unloving, drug-addicted mother. (Cover illustration by Greg Spalenka.) publishing company when she was in tenth grade. It was not accepted, but in their rejection letter, the company encouraged her to send more works. However, Harrison's father encouraged her to find a "real job" because he did not think that writing was a stable enough career. Not until the grown-up Harrison started questioning her "real job" did she finally decide to try again to become a published writer.

Harrison's first published book, The Monster in Me, is the story of a troubled thirteen-year-old girl named Natalie Wills. Natalie's mother has just gone into a drug rehab program, so Natalie is placed in a foster home with the Parker family. Suffering from years of emotional neglect, the teenager has many problems to work through besides missing her mother. Compounding Natalie's problems are nightmares in which she thinks she is a monster. However, with the help of fellow runner Mr. Parker, her school friend Mary, and the track coach Mr. Landers, she begins to learn how to cope and appreciate the stable people in her life. "While the book is hopeful, it is tinged with resignation, feelings readers will understand and appreciate," concluded Frances Bradburn in Booklist. Considering The Monster in Me "a good choice for reluctant readers," School Library Journal critic Faith Brautigam found Harrison's book "a highly readable first novel."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2003, Frances Bradburn, review of The Monster in Me, p. 1397.

Publishers Weekly, April 14, 2003, review of The Monster in Me, p. 72.

School Library Journal, June, 2003, Faith Brautigam, review of The Monster in Me.

ONLINE

Hatrack River Writers' Groups, http://www.hatrack.com/ (October 16, 2003), "Former Boot Campers Published."

Mette Ivie Harrison Home Page, http://www.metteivieharrison.com/ (November 19, 2003).

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