Margot

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4.8 (2)
 
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Margot
Age Range
14+
Release Date
September 03, 2013
ISBN
978-1594486432
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Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten.

In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.

Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Beautiful Historical Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
What I Loved:
Though World War II era fiction of just about any sort has a high level of appeal for me, I’m wary of these “what if?” stories. It seems there are so many ways in which they could go wrong. In this case, I needn’t have worried, however, for Jillian Cantor handles this subject matter respectfully, beautifully, and cleverly.

Jillian Cantor’s Margot has a slow pace, but her writing and close examination of Margot as a character keeps the story from feeling slow. Particularly effective in the writing was Cantor’s use of metaphor. She uses the perfect ones, metaphors that fit Margot’s life and experiences, that really help make her voice feel true and unlike any other’s.

I am good at keeping secrets. I am wrapped in them now, the way I am wrapped in lies, like my sweater, clinging tightly to my skin, even on the hottest of days.

I love this quote, because it really speaks to Margot’s life now: sequestered, bundled, hidden, and secretive. Though Margot, now living in Philadelphia as the gentile Margie Franklin, survived, escaped from the Nazis, in some ways her life has not changed from the Annex. More accurately, she has not changed; mentally, she remains there, quiet and afraid of discovery.

Margie Franklin lives a quiet life, avoiding notice and working at a law firm as a secretary. Shelby, her coworker, throws Margie into a psychological tailspin when she invites her to go to the movies to see The Diary of Anne Frank. The existence of the book and now the movie force Margie, a case brought in to the law firm by a woman who survived the camps, and her crush on her boss, Joshua Rosenstein are forcing Margie to decide whether to confront her identity or to continue to hide.

Margie’s fear and guilt and discomfort seep out of every page. I really felt for her, and thought she was lovingly and kindly portrayed. One element of Margie’s narration that I especially loved was how un-American she was, how she struggled with understanding certain things about American lives. She has a foreign way of thinking that fits the way she’s not left the past behind, as do her issues with food. The integration of this reimagining of history is convincingly done as well, making the idea that she could have survived seem entirely possible.

What Left Me Wanting More:
The romance I’m rather of two minds about. Though Joshua’s obviously a nice guy, the decisions he make made it hard for me to really root for Joshua and Margie to actually become a couple. The resolution also felt a bit too sudden and like Margot’s mental breakthrough happened largely because of romance, though I’m not sure if that’s fair, as it was the culmination of many factors. Still, I don’t know if she would have gotten so far so quickly were she not under the pressure of possibly losing Joshua forever.

The Final Verdict:
Margot is a truly beautiful novel, both dark and inspiring at once. Cantor writes beautifully, capturing the spirit of a woman trapped in her past and unsure whether she really deserves a happy future. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy thoughtful, character-focused historical fiction.
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What if?
(Updated: September 15, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I first read the blurb of MARGOT in a recent issue of PEOPLE magazine. The whole premise of 'What if' the older sister of Anne Frank survived, intrigued me. All I knew was I had to read this book.

What worked for me was the amazing writing that layered in the story of Margie Franklin who is living in Philadelphia during the later 1950s. She's a secretary at a Jewish law firm with a huge secret that she hides under a sweater she wears year round. Readers get a glimpse of what might have happened if Margot, the older sister of Anne Frank had in fact lived. She's shown here not so much as a victim but someone fleeing her horrific past and having a secret hope that Peter is in fact alive too. We find that not only Anne but Margot kept a diary too. Woven throughout are revelations that have Margot second guessing what her relationship with Peter really was.

There is so much to love about this story. Readers feel the horror of the war, the time Margot spent in the Annex with her family(we see that maybe it wasn't Anne who was in love with Peter but rather Margot), and the pain of living a lie. I felt the emotions were raw and so intense. I felt for Margot. The backstory is woven in without slowing the pace of this highly engaging story. I really think it should be included in middle school and high school reading lists on the holocaust.

Emotionally beautiful retelling of the Anne Frank story seen through the eyes of what might have been if the older sister had lived to tell her story. Riveting with sharp contrasts between her life during the world and the burdensome secret she keeps from others. A must read!
Good Points
1. Amazing twist on what would have happened if the older sister of Anne Frank survived
2. Engaging storyline
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