Everyone has read The Diary of Anne Frank, right? It’s required reading in pretty much every school. I read it in high school and have seen the movie a few times. It’s one of those books that is so good, but you hesitate to say it’s good because of the subject matter–like you feel a little guilty for liking it, not only because it’s a terrible story, but because it’s a true story.
Margot is a novel about Anne Frank’s older sister, Margot, and how she dealt with life after the war, pretending that she survived the concentration camp and made it to America to live her new life. She is working as a legal secretary in Philadelphia where no one has a clue who she really is. It’s right around the time that Diary was made into a movie, so everyone is talking about it and “Margie Franklin” has quite a difficult time dealing with the emotions surrounding having to not only hide her true identity, but also to see her sister and her family portrayed in a way that is not entirely accurate. On top of all that, she is in love with her boss who is engaged to another woman AND she still has feelings for Peter–who was really in love with HER, and not Anne.
This was a page-turner for me during the first several chapters. I had a hard time putting it down so I could go to sleep because I was waiting for Margie to either reveal herself or get found out, and at the same time I was rooting for her to win over Joshua AND to find Peter alive somewhere. Towards the middle, the book slowed down and I admit to skimming some of the pages because it started to drag. I think there was a lot that could have been omitted without doing any damage to the plot or the overall effect of the story. I appreciated the ending and thought that the whole story was very imaginative and well done.
I often found myself having to remember that I was reading a work of fiction. Margot Frank did not survive the concentration camp. She did not make it to Philadelphia. At times it felt wrong to be reading something false about a real person, especially one who had suffered so much in her short life. On the other hand, I enjoyed the fact that it got me thinking about Margot and what her story must have been like. She kept a diary, just like Anne did, but we’ve never had a chance to read her innermost thoughts and opinions. This book opened my mind and made me wonder what her experience in the annex must have been like and how she dealt with having to hide there.