The Education of Margot Sanchez [Book Review]
Described as a combination of Pretty in Pink in the South Bronx, The Education of Margot Sanchez initially sold me on its premise. As I delved into the book — albeit a short read, but nevertheless aggravating — I found myself loathing its titular character. You see, Margot Sanchez is being punished over her summer break by her parents for “borrowing” her father’s credit card to go on a shopping spree. Immediately the selfishness of doing so turned me off, but I pushed on through Lilliam River’s young adult novel as Margot toiled her summer away.
For me, in the beginning, Margot Sanchez was the epitome of everything I disliked. Spoiled, privileged, with a posh demeanor, Margot callously looks down upon having to work at her father’s supermarket as a punishment. You see, Margot attends a posh private school and is losing out on spending time with the school’s elite as well as her crush during summer break. Truthfully, Margot wears a mask throughout her existence, never fully opening to her friends about her livelihood, the expectations her parents have for her to succeed and attend an Ivy League school. The punishment is considered a minor throw away for them, and at best, an annoyance that interferes in the full experience of summertime.
As her work days unfold, Margot finds herself at odds with her neanderthal brother, another employee under the Sanchez and Sons company, her overbearing and overprotective father, and a distant mother whose focus is on maintaining a proper family image. Then there’s Moises — a community activist who sets up shop in front of the supermarket. Despite efforts by her brother and father to rid public space of “trash,” Moises stays and begins a one-sided friendship. Attempts made to dissuade her from Moises’ companionship only further Margot’s desire to rebel.
Margot Sanchez came off as one of the most unlikable characters — and yet, despite all the characteristics that include betraying friends, both old and new, careless decisions, I want to root for her. I want to believe Margot gains the capacity to change her ways, and become a decent person who has the capacity to care for others. Though Margot’s character is my only grudge, Lilliam Rivera has crafted a fine piece of literature with a Latina lead.