Book #18 of 2014: Margot

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.

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Do Not Lie Down for Ten Minutes After Taking This Drug

That is a legitimate warning on my new antibiotic.

You guys, I have three book reviews sitting in my drafts folder, I’ve been struggling to finish Memoirs of a Geisha for almost two weeks now, and it’s all because I have yet again another mystery illness. Well, as of today it’s no longer a mystery, because I was finally able to see a doctor who knows what he’s talking about.

I’ve been seeing my GP for the past 16 years. He’s taken good care of me and I’m comfortable with him. About 6 months ago, he started working fewer hours. He hired a nurse practitioner to cover all of the walk-in patients and he was only seeing the appointments. Then he started only coming in one Saturday a month. Now the receptionist doesn’t know the next time he’ll be in. They’ve given all kinds of excuses: He’s busy at the hospital. He’s studying for the new Affordable Care Act requirements. He’s in training. He’s taking classes to be re-certified. I began to get suspicious that he had opened another practice somewhere, so I turned to my good friend Dr. Google and did some sleuthing. I found a listing for him with a current picture for a practice in FLORIDA. Then I found a news release dated from February announcing that he had joined this FL practice and was accepting new patients. My dad actually called the office and questioned this, and he was told that the doctor IS in Florida, but only for training and he is not seeing patients. Yeah, right.

I don’t like change, but I would be semi-OK with this if the nurse practitioner who is covering for him was even slightly competent. However, she is not.

Two weeks ago, I explained to her that I woke up with horrible pain behind my ear and that my husband had looked at it and said it was very red. It felt hot and even my hair brushing past it nearly sent me into tears. A couple of days later I felt a bump had developed, which is when I high-tailed it to the doctor’s office. She insisted that I had a pimple and I must have picked it and it got infected. I told her that wasn’t the case at all, but she wouldn’t listen to me. She told me it was cellulitis, prescribed me an antibiotic, and told me to come back in a week. Good thing I asked her which medicine she was prescribing because she was going to give me penicillin even though I’m allergic to it. It says so right in my chart, which she was holding. She ended up changing the prescription twice before I left the office because she didn’t know which medicine to give me. Strike one.

I followed up with her six days later. When she came in the room, she asked me how my rash was doing. Puzzled, I told her that she said previously it was an infection. “Oh, that’s right,” she said. Strike two. She looked at it and then asked me if I was still using the cream she gave me. I told her she never gave me any cream, but that I was using Neosporin. “Oh, that’s right, I remember you told me that,” she said. Well, that’s impossible because I didn’t start using it until after I saw her the first time. Strike three.

At that point, all she told me was that she was hoping it would look better by now so she did some blood work and sent me on my way. Before I even got to my car, I was dialing the dermatologist’s office to make an appointment. I saw him today and his eyes nearly bulged out of his head when I told him all this. He took one look and told me it’s an infected epidermal inclusive cyst and it needs to be removed once the infection is clear. I finished ten days of antibiotics–that gave me horrific headaches and made me borderline narcoleptic–on Monday night, and now I’ve got a bottle of new pills for the next two weeks. I’ve taken these before, and I know they make me nauseated and irritate my IBS. I can’t wait.

Book #17 of 2014: The Fault in Our Stars

My library finally got multiple copies of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, so I was able to snag one a few weeks ago. I finished it in a few days, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t quite get what all the hype was about.

Hazel is 17 and has terminal lung cancer. She needs to wheel around her oxygen tank to breathe, and needs to be hooked up to a larger machine at night while she sleeps. She attends a support group in the basement of a local church, but most of the time she just makes fun of the other members in her head and with her friend, Isaac. One day, Augustus appears, and he is unlike any boy she’s ever met before. They become instant friends, and although Gus wants more, Hazel is reluctant to get too close to him when she discovers that his ex-girlfriend died.

The book is well written, the story moves along nicely, and while I liked Hazel, I couldn’t get into Gus. His character seemed so forced, like he was trying too hard to be the cool kid. Maybe that was the whole point and I missed it.

I didn’t see what was so groundbreaking about this story, however. Maybe I’m too bitter and jaded in my old age, but I didn’t find a story about teenagers dealing with cancer all that new or spellbinding. Sure, it was sad, but does that automatically make it a good book? If a book makes you cry, does that mean it’s great? I don’t think it does. I cried during parts of this book, and I actually had to put it down and step away because it hit too close to home, but that alone doesn’t put it on my Favorite Books list. It was good, and I would recommend it, but once again I have to say I am not jumping on the John Green bandwagon with everyone else.