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"The name Margaret derives from the Greek word margaron, which means pearl. ... Margaret has more nicknames than any other female name in the English language. " (p. 60). Margarettown by Garbrielle Zevin takes this fact literarily, in the form of Maggie and her many selves.
Narrated mostly by N. to his daughter Jane, Margarettown is the story of his romance and marriage to a remarkable woman named Margaret Towne. He knew her as Maggie but if her story is to be believed, she is also Old Margaret, Marge, Mia, May and the unfortunate Greta.
Maggie is either from Albany or Margarettown, depending on who you ask. Margarettown is one of those forgotten towns that exists on the periphery of human geography. Like so many places on the back roads, it can only be found by getting lost. In that regard it is on the same map as the Bone Man's town and Spectre (from Big Fish).
Margarettown had my attention from the first paragraph. At first I liked it for Zevin's attention to detail: the stolen university furniture, the two pushed together mattresses and the old pen. Then as Maggie's curse comes into play, I was drawn completely into Margarettown. Somewhere in all the different versions of events presented is the truth. It is a novel to be enjoyed and pondered over and discussed.