In Her Shoes (novel)
|Publisher||Washington Square Press|
Rose and Maggie Feller are two young sisters who share little in common except their shoe size. Rose is the eldest and has been watching after Maggie since they were young children and their mother Caroline died in a car accident. They were raised by their father Michael (perpetually in mourning for Caroline) and stepmother Sydelle (who resents them both).
Rose is a thirty-year old single, successful lawyer who struggles with her weight, and who resents her younger sister's beauty and success with men. Maggie, a twenty-eight-year-old who uses her beauty and charming nature to hide the obstacles she faces due to dyslexia and related learning difficulties, resents Rose's academic success and consequent wealth. While close as children, standardized testing sets them on different paths in high school: Rose's success on the exams leads to Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania Law School; Maggie's failure on the exams leads to a future path of drifting through a string of clerical jobs until she ends up homeless and jobless on Rose's couch. Both nearing the age of their mother when she died, Rose and Maggie each feel as if there is a vacuum in their lives which they are unable to fill.
After wearing out her welcome with Rose (and being evicted from her father's home by her step mother), Maggie runs away, choosing to hide in Princeton University, which she had visited when Rose was a student. Finding shelter in a lower level of the library (with a fully equipped bathroom/shower), Maggie fills her free time doing something that she had avoided her entire life: reading. She also accepts a part-time position as a care-taker for a nearby elderly woman. Maggie is surprised to find that when reading in her own way at her own pace, she enjoys the activity and even begins to attend a poetry class. Eventually, however, a boy (whose wallet she had stolen) discovers her belongings in the library. Realizing her charade at Princeton is over, Maggie runs away. She travels to find her long-lost grandmother, whose old letters she had discovered previously in her father's desk. Rose, meanwhile, leaves her career in law in order to discover what life as a dog-walker would be like. She also begins to date Simon Stein.
Grandma Ella, who had previously tried to track the girls via the Internet (only finding information on Rose) is delighted to see Maggie and invites her to stay in her home. Gradually Maggie, Ella, and eventually Rose reconcile with each other, and in the process come to terms with both the life and death of Caroline.