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Margarettown by Gabrielle Zevin

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads

The narrator of this tale, simply known as “N.,” is a teaching assistant who falls in love with one of his students, Margaret Towne. Though his love is reciprocated, it comes with a caveat. For Maggie declares she is “cursed.” Undaunted by her admission, N. wants to marry her, so Maggie takes him home to meet her family. But it doesn’t take long for N. to realize that something very strange is afoot in Margarettown; for Maggie’s family consists of a handful of women — of varying ages — each of whom carries a name derived from that of his beloved.

Zevin’s novel takes several unusual turns as she leads readers on a survey of the many forms of love. Ultimately, the tale is revealed as a kind of diary, which N. has written for his daughter. But the narration changes midstream, and Maggie gets a chance to tell her side of the story before handing it off to the couple’s unborn children. In Margarettown, Zevin ingeniously demonstrates the challenges faced by an enduring love, during which time the beloved changes, only to become a conglomeration of many different personas.

The View:

I am determined to get my AtoZ challenge completed this year and so I went about searching for a ‘Z’ author. Something about the plainness of this book’s cover struck me and I was headed to the checkout line. A pretty lady next to me was as impressed as I was by the book and we started off chatting. Our conversation went something in these lines.

Pretty Lady M: – Have you read any other works by this author?
Me – No, I guess this is her first book.
Pretty Lady M: – I like the cover and I would like to know what you think of this book.
Me – Yes, strangely I liked the cover too. And I can post my review on the library website under the name kavyen.
Pretty Lady M: – That would be great. By the way, I am Maggie.
Me – Oh, Are you Margarett as well ???

And that is how my interest in this book doubled.

‘Margarettown’ would be categorized as a simple love story if it did not involve so many characters. One man in love with many women inside a single woman – this is as uncomplicated as I can make it sound. I liked the story being told through a man’s perspective and often questioned if it was N’s vivid imagination or reality that is being explained. When the book ended I was left with the same question.

The characters were mature and real. For me the main plot resided in the explanation that one woman can have multiple women living inside her at different phases of her life. This is an interesting truth and while many authors have tried to exploit this concept not many have succeeded without giving it a brutal appearance. Gabrielle Zevin explains a women’s evolution as is, the women at different phases of life have different interests, likes and dislikes but they are eventually one and the same.

A love story complete with simplicity and a lot of realism. This book left me with the question – When a man falls in love with a woman does he love all of them? If you manage to read through the book’s initial chapters you will find it captivating enough to carry you through the end. Rated a 4 on 5 and a big cheer to Zevin for a great debut novel.



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