A Boston area writer, Meredith has authored three books and co-authored one. She is currently working on her fourth, a memoir.
Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, 2017), author
A narrative nonfiction account of how a small-town Massachusetts middle school jazz band overcame grief through music and camaraderie while under the guidance of an unorthodox, risk-taking music director. Slated for publication in May 2, 2017. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Madeleine Blais called Mr. Clark’s Big Band “endearing and inspiring.”
The Buying of the President (Avon, 1996), co-author
A finalist for a Investigative Reporters and Editors book award, this book examined the connections between major donors and the 1996 presidential candidates. Meredith researched and wrote the chapters on eventual GOP nominee Bob Dole and Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. The Columbia Journalism Review called the Dole-Gallo research “surprising” and “a big story.”
A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, 2007), author
A glimpse into the mind of a laid-back yet stressed-out, insecure, sleep-starved, TV-obsessed, news-junkie, Generation X parent navigating the labyrinth of modern parenthood with three young children, including a set of twins. From critiquing fashionistas who try to convince the pregnant public to buy maternity thongs and discussing whether at-home moms have sold out their feminist sisters, to tackling topics such as how to have a sex life while three kids are pounding on their parents’ locked bedroom door, how to look cool while driving a mini-van (a clue: you can’t) and what happens when a toddler eats trash, Meredith’s collection of 76 columns illustrates how parents are living their lives in the real American suburbs, not in the white picket fenced world portrayed in fuzzy, honey-hued greeting card ads.
ForeWord Reviews said, “This book’s short essays will appeal to harried mothers looking for relief from the sometimes claustrophobic world of parenting young children. In A Suburban Mom, readers will find both humor and reprieve from the outside world’s views of their daily lives.” Literary Mamas said, “With a healthy does of pathos, [O’Brien] manages to capture the befuddlement that comes with trying to parent in the face of the opposing demands of children and lurid temptations like fast food and the veritable buffet of kids’ television programming.”
Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, 2013), author
In the age of blogs and omnipresent social media, where is the line between laudable, cathartic honesty and oversharing? Maggie Kelly started her personal blog for one reason: to prevent her head from exploding with frustration. She is, frankly, tired of at-home motherhood and weary of her husband Michael’s frequent absences due to his workaholic ways. She feels like a hostage to marriage and maternity. So when a friend suggests that she create an anonymous blog where she can complain to her heart’s content and not have to hold anything back, “Maggie Has Had It” was born. After her controversial, raw and profane blog posts draw thousands of online readers, Maggie’s blogging identity is inadvertently revealed. Michael is horrified to learn that his wife has written, in great detail, about his shortcomings as a husband and, mortifyingly, between the sheets. To make matters worse, it is his mother who tells him about his online humiliation. While many people have been embarrassed by unkind remarks that have been made about them from time to time, few have had those unflattering quips go viral in the way Michael’s humiliation does. Mortification in 21st century fashion: via Google. (Book blog can be found here.)
A finalist in ForeWord Reviews’ contest for debut novels, Mortified was called by former Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss, “A funny, empathetic novel about family, frustration and the perils of miscommunication. Maggie’s blogging and misadventures are familiar to us all, and her voice is irresistible.” Award-winning author Suzanne Strempek Shea said, “I am so glad overwhelmed suburban mom Maggie Kelly wasn’t writing about me in her vent-gone-viral blog Maggie Has Had It, but am so thrilled Meredith O’Brien indeed has written about her. Dig right into this very satisfying parfait of fiction that reads keenly as fact happening behind the closed curtains right next door to you, marital drama harshly exposed to the light of day via this smart, sharp and funny look at what happens when one woman’s TMI world explodes.”