Among the Branded

Linda Smolkin

Book Cover

GENRE

FAMILY DRAMA WAR MEMOIR

    Core Theme

    THE HORRORS OF HISTORY, AND THE LESSONS THEY CAN STILL TEACH US TODAY.

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    SCHINDLER'S LIST, SOPHIE'S CHOICE

    CHARACTER LIST

    • STEPHANIE BRITAIN: 40+. LEAD, THE MOM OF TWO TEENAGERS, WELL MARRIED. WORKS ON ADVERTISING, WELL-ESTABLISHED CAREER. FAMILY DRIVEN.

    • IZZY: 75. MALE LEAD, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR. DECISIVE, STRONG MORAL CODE, BADASS, CHARMING, CONFIDENT, EMPATHETIC, ENGAGING.

    Logline

    Stephanie, an art director who befriends a Holocaust survivor, must decide between her livelihood or her beliefs when she discovers her newest client isn't on the up and up. It's Sarah's Key meets a modern-day Mad Men.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    DC suburbs

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: indie

    Year Published: 2017

    Starting Description

    Stephanie attends a WWII living-history event and buys love letters from the war, hoping they’ll inspire a website redesign. Turns out, one letter is written from an internment camp in German-occupied France, which takes her on a quest to find out if the boy mentioned is still alive.

    Ending Description

    After being inspired by the Holocaust survivor she befriends, Stephanie comes up with a plan to get her anti-Semitic client to leave. The client rejects Stephanie’s marketing idea and tells her that he will no longer work with Stephanie’s company. Turns out, Stephanie’s plan works.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-0998617114

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions, Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Other,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Stephanie

    Age: early 40s

    Gender: Female

    Role: Logical

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Decisive,Empathetic,Honorable,Leader,Outspoken,Skillful,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Izzy

    Age: 75

    Gender: Male

    Role: Logical

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Badass,Charming,Complex,Engaging,Heroic,Religious

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Svetlana

    Age: 50s

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Leader,Outspoken

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Katherine

    Age: 65

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Complex,Decisive,Outspoken,Unapologetic

    Development Pitch

    Among the Branded is a remarkable story about an unlikely friendship and how hatred, when not checked, can linger around us. It features a strong female lead who takes matters in her own hands to stand up for something she believes is wrong in the workplace. It's a feel-good story with a conscience that will have viewers cheering for Stephanie and her sidekick Izzy, a 75-year-old Holocaust survivor who'd rather play video games than talk about his past. But once he opens up, their newfound friendship blossoms and makes her realize that she can't turn the other cheek when it comes to anti-Semitism. Among the Branded has a strong message of friendship, family, beliefs, and doing the right thing. The conflict with our own self and self discovery would work well on the screen, as would the vibrant reenactment and workplace scenes. With all that's going on in the world, Among the Branded sends a clear message that white supremacy won't be tolerated--and the way that Stephanie, the main character, deals with it uses a creative approach that many viewers might not see coming. A film (or short series) adaptation of this modern-day twist on historical fiction would keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

    Brief

    A middle-aged career woman thinks she has it all figured out, until she decides to search for a holocaust survivor that she finds over an original letter from the war. Their newfound, unexpected friendship will change both their lives.

    What We Liked

    It's a feel-good drama, if possible. Among the Branded is a sweet, albeit highly emotional story about Stephanie, a strong female lead who decides to learn more about the meaning of war and the effect of the Holocaust on modern civilization. Her new relationship with Izzy, a survivor who leans on her to convey the importance and the impact of his horrific war experiences, is immediately relatable and, soon enough, both characters feel like part of the reader/viewer’s family. While the circumstances that brought them all together are tragic, the resulting relationships are priceless. The book has an intriguing concept and touches on important themes; such as the bonds of family, the overlooked horrors of history, and the lessons they can still teach us today. In the hands of remarkable filmmakers, it would be an absolute staple.

    Key points: War and History; family relations; the odd friendship between two people who supposedly have nothing in common; a bigger, important message; a meaningful, tearful ending.

    Synopsis

    Stephanie, a successful Art Director at an advertising agency, finds old, original love letters from the war in a flea market. One of them brings a list of Jewish names. A person on the list shares the same date of birth with Stephany’s late father, which catches her attention. This letter is written in German. With the help of a multilingual co-worker, she finds out that this is not an ordinary letter - it’s a cry for help. The message comes from a concentration camp addressed to some relatives in Boston. In desperation, the person asks for sponsorship, to have them relocated to America.

    Stephanie uses her research skills to go over the internet and find out about the man who wrote the letter; Isadore Fisher, also known as Izzy - a lovely old man who still works as a French professor at the local University. Eventually, she reaches out, and a strong bond begins. She lost her father recently, and he is all by himself due to the death of his wife. A friendship starts to develop, and Izzy happily becomes part of the family, being well received by all - including getting really close to Steph’s mother.

    Meanwhile, Steph decides to search a little more about his life. At the Holocaust Museum, with the help of the clerk, she locates the woman who saved Izzy’s life when he was a child at the Camp in France. She’s in the US, as well. Steph convinces Izzy to go see the old woman, who took a young Izzy from his mother’s arms while she was embarking to Auschwitz. She worked as a nurse at the camp and had to convince Izzy’s mother that giving the kid up was the only option. The nurse hid Izzy from the Germans for a couple of years, when he was finally sent to Boston to be raised by relatives.

    After this emotional meeting, both Izzy and Steph learn that these stories need to be shared not to be repeated. Izzy starts to attend events at the museum, give interviews, and spend time talking to kids at Jack’s - Steph’s son - school. Steph, on the other hand, decides not to take for granted small things in her routine - and remain alert to any kind of prejudicial behavior, something that helps her even in her professional life. Shortly thereafter, when Izzy dies, he leaves everything to Stephanie and her family, grateful for those last realizations.

    About The Author

    Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer; ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. She's the author of Among the Branded and The Secret We Lost - and currently working on her third novel.