From the very moment I first heard about Margo, I wanted it in my hands. I've said it a hundred times, but Historical Fiction is the genre I grew up reading - I love the insights into life in the past, the characters, the atmosphere - absolutely everything about it. And although Margot is based on a non-fiction book, the fiction element was strong enough to have me obsessing about reading it.
I admit that I don't remember reading The Diary of a Young Girl although I do own a copy - iconic books are often the ones that I don't choose to read because I'm so fearful of being disappointed, but I don't think it would be considered essential to have read it first - and in some ways I'm glad I haven't. Although it will be interesting to read it having read this, albeit fictional, book from Margot's perspective.
I had an overwhelming sympathy for Margot right from the beginning - having lost her family and even her own identity, she has ensconced herself in a safe, comfortable life in Philadelphia, and has, for the most part, packed away her past and concentrated on just blending into the background and making it through the next day. As the story progressed, I really started to admire her as a character too - although cracks start to appear, she continues to hold everything together as best she can.
Cantor's creativity in re-imagining Margot's story was fabulous - it really made me stop and think about how secondary characters in non-fiction and in first person perspectives in fiction are usually very one dimensional because their side of the story isn't told. I also wondered about Diary of a Young Girl, and how in becoming so famous, that book only tells part of the story of the Frank family as it is from Anne's perspective.
The plot is not action-packed - when I finished reading and looked back on it, all that really happened was Margot's journey to confront her past and understand how it fit into her present. But it was a page-turner nonetheless - Cantor sucked me right in to Margot's story and whenever I had to stop reading, I couldn't wait to get back to it.
Margot was incredibly creative, well thought-out and the characterisation was fantastic - I'd recommend this book to anyone.