Crane, Megan 1972–

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Crane, Megan 1972–

(Margaret Crane)

PERSONAL:

Born June 19, 1972, in Houston, TX. Education: Vassar College, B.A.; University of York, M.A., Ph.D, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Has worked as a customer service representative, a paralegal, a bookstore clerk, a donor relations coordinator, and in a variety of office clerical jobs.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

English as a Second Language, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Everyone Else's Girl, Warner Books/5 Spot (New York, NY), 2005.

Frenemies, Warner Books/5 Spot (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to anthologies, including Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, edited by Jennifer O'Connell, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2005; and It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths about Life in Your Twenties, edited by Emily Franklin, 5 Spot (New York, NY), 2007. Author of the blog, Megan Crane.

SIDELIGHTS:

Megan Crane writes novels about young women dealing with issues involving work, romance, friends, and family. Her books are generally considered part of the "chick lit" genre, a classification Crane embraces. "I love it," she said of the genre in an interview for Chick Lit Books. "It's wonderfully inclusive, and has so much room for growth and variation." There is demand for these books, she continued, because "women are hungry for fictional characters to identify with."

Crane's first novel, English as a Second Language, tells the story of a young American woman who leaves an unsatisfying paralegal job to study for a master's degree at a British university. The background of the character, Alex Brennan, is similar to that of Crane, who also was a paralegal and attended graduate school in England; Crane has said she used her experiences as a jumping-off point, but the story is not autobiographical. For Alex, going to graduate school allows her a way out of her apparently dead-end situation, but it is also a means of postponing any serious career plans. In England she finds friends, enemies, and romance, and she succeeds at her studies for an advanced degree in English even while having an active social life revolving around drinking. She also reaches a new understanding of herself and faces up to some of her shortcomings.

Some critics found the novel a superior example of chick lit, among them Library Journal contributor Anna M. Nelson, who called it an "an engrossing, intelligent read." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, however, deemed English as a Second Language "an awkward jumble of a book," while allowing that the author displays "energy and effort." Melissa Parcel, writing for BookLoons, praised Crane's characters, calling Alex "endearing," the supporting players "hilarious," and the book overall "enjoyable." Booklist commentator Beth Leistensnider summed up the novel as a "breezy but accurate take on twentysomethings."

In Everyone Else's Girl, twenty-eight-year-old Meredith McKay takes an extended leave from her job and boyfriend to return to her small hometown and care for her injured father. She had been eager to leave her home and family, and she feels her "adult" life is nearly ideal. At home, though, she is forced to deal with some unresolved family issues, and she encounters an old schoolmate, Scott, who has matured from nebbishy to devastatingly attractive, making her question whether her relationship with her boyfriend is indeed satisfactory.

Several reviewers found the book to be a satisfactory and realistic portrait of a young woman reevaluating her life. Crane "affords her heroine considerable latitude for growth, and she addresses real challenges," remarked a Kirkus Reviews critic. Anna M. Nelson, writing in the Library Journal, noted Crane's "growing depth" as a writer and her complex, believable characters. The novel is both funny and warm, "without being smarmy," Nelson wrote. Harriet Klausner, critiquing for Best Reviews, observed that "Meredith's maturation is handled with humor and pathos," making for "a wonderful tale."

Frenemies finds another young woman confronting issues of maturation. Augusta "Gus" Curtis, a Boston librarian approaching her thirtieth birthday, loses her boyfriend, Nate, to an old friend, Helen. Gus is initially determined to get Nate back, but eventually she begins to wonder if she really wants him—and what else she really wants from life. Along the way, she and her friends endure numerous comic complications. Some commentators deemed Frenemies intelligent and entertaining, but a Kirkus Reviews contributor was not among them; this critic called it "an unfocused, unamusing story with an unappealing heroine." A reviewer for Boston Bibliophile, however, thought Gus "a normal and likable young woman" and the book "absolutely charming." On another online site, Curled up with a Good Book, Marie Hashima Lofton described Frenemies as "a smart, enjoyable book," and concluded: "I will gladly read more by Megan Crane."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2004, Beth Leistensnider, review of English as a Second Language, p. 1816.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of Everyone Else's Girl, p. 932; April 15, 2007, review of Frenemies.

Library Journal, August, 2004, Anna M. Nelson, review of English as a Second Language, p. 64; October 1, 2005, Anna M. Nelson, review of Everyone Else's Girl, p. 64.

Publishers Weekly, June 21, 2004, review of English as a Second Language, p. 41.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of Frenemies, p. 8.

ONLINE

Beatrice,http://www.beatrice.com/ (March 27, 2005), Ron Hogan, interview with Megan Crane.

Best Reviews, http://thebestreviews.com/ (October 11, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Everyone Else's Girl.

BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (January 9, 2008), Melissa Parcel, review of English as a Second Language.

Boston Bibliophile,http://www.bostonbibliophile.com/ (September 23, 2007), review of Frenemies.

Boxing the Octopus, http://boxingoctopus.blogspot.com/ (June 14, 2007), article on Frenemies.

Chick Lit Books,http://chicklitbooks.com/ (January 9, 2008), interview with Megan Crane.

Conversations with Famous Writers, http://conversationsfamouswriters.blogspot.com/ (January 27, 2006), Cindy Bokma, interview with Megan Crane.

Curled up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (January 9, 2008), Marie Hashima Lofton, review of Frenemies.

Hachette Book Group Web site,http://www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/ (January 9, 2008), brief biography of Megan Crane.

Megan Crane Home Page, http://www.megancrane.com (January 9, 2008).

Megan Crane MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/megancrane (January 9, 2008).

Romantic Times Book Review, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (January 9, 2008), Lauren Spielberg, review of Everyone Else's Girl and Frenemies.

Small Spiral Notebook, http://www.smallspiralnotebook.com/ (January 23, 2008), Felicia C. Sullivan, interview with Megan Crane.

Trashonista,http://www.trashionista.com/ (October, 2006), interview with Megan Crane.