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Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  2,176 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
In June, 1942, Anne Frank received a red-and-white checked diary for her thirteenth birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic. For two years, with ever-increasing maturity, Anne crafted a memoir that has become one of the most compelling, intimate, and important documents of modern history - grappling with the ...more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Harper (first published September 16th 2009)
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Moira Russell
About the first half of the book is devastating -- detailing Anne's life, her writing, her death, her book, her afterlife. Then Prose writes about the dramatic and cinematic adaptations of Anne's diary, and that's horribly hilarious. The last section of the book isn't as well-structured -- she leaps from Holocaust deniers to school challenges to how to teach the diary -- and depends way too much on the internet (a lot of it is already badly dated: Yahoo message boards?). But the rather lyrical ...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 20, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who has read any edition of Anne Frank’s diary; those interested in writing
This is a must read book for anyone who’s read and appreciated Anne Frank’s diary in any of its published forms.

I am now eager to read the critical edition of the diary, which includes the revisions made by Anne in her last months before her capture; all 3 versions of her diary are included.

The only edition of the diary that I’ve read is the copy I have that I first read when I was eleven. I would have appreciated it so much more if my first reading had been at age thirteen, but my mother was ea
Mar 06, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
How helpful is a review when the reviewer is already predisposed to the subject? From the time of my first reading of Anne Frank's diary when I was a young girl, I've been fascinated by its author's voice and by the fact that the diary even exists, surviving against the odds.

From my adult reading of the so-called definitive edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, I arrived at some of the same conclusions Prose did. Though I never actually articulated to myself, though Prose does, that
Oct 26, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was so pleased to be a first reads winner of this book, and am happy to report that it is indeed a worthwhile and absorbing read, one I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about Anne, the context in which her diary was created, and the social history of the cultural phenomenon the diary has become.

Francine Prose states clearly her belief that Anne Frank was a genius, and she makes a convincing case. Most interesting to me was the section on the writing of the diar
Jan 03, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
I can understand why HarperCollins was a little nervous about this book: Prose does not play into the cult of Saint Anne. Rather, she looks at the "diary" (which, according to the evidence, was as much a literary creation - edited, reedited - as it was a documentation of Anne's thoughts and life) as the work of an author learning her craft under extraordinary circumstances.

The version I read, and the stage play I saw, in junior and high school are not the version that Anne wrote. Back then, who
May 16, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
Most of it was fascinating. I felt Prose handled Anne Frank's life very well. I love the sections that discussed Anne's actual writing. Those were engrossing. And I like the part where she discussed even the negative legacy of Frank's work.

It was the parts about the play and the movie where I felt she got bogged down. She discusses Meyer Levin's involvement with the play ad nauseum and the actors in the original Broadway production -- none of whom I was familiar with. She could have used some ph
Nov 10, 2010 Persephone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was ten years old when I saw the play The Diary of Anne Frank on television. My mother explained beforehand that Anne had hidden from the Nazis with her family, but was discovered and sent to a concentration camp. I could tell by the way she said this that this was a sinister thing, but wondered what could be so dreadful about a camp where they made you think hard.

The play must have made a deep impression because for Christmas, my father gave me a copy of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Neil Mudde
Oct 07, 2012 Neil Mudde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having recently traveled to Holland and visiting Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam, then reading this book I am amazed at the goings on that happened after the diary was discovered left behind by Anne, saved by Miep who took care of those in hiding, by risking her life, and providing food etc.
Ms Prose tells us about how Miep gave the diary to Anne,s Father Otto Frank who realized Anne had written this with the intent of having this published, no doubt at the time of writing she would not have dreamed
Nov 09, 2009 Susann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has read the Diary
I enthusiastically recommend this examination of and discourse on Anne Frank as a writer, the extensive literary merits of her Diary, the effects of the play and movie adaptations, and on teaching the Diary. Prose is passionate about Anne and the Diary and she shows her opinions alongside her impressive research. I thought I already knew quite a bit about Anne and the Diary, but I learned so much more with this book.

I'll save my specific Diary thoughts for my upcoming re-read and review of it.
Nov 18, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-books
This is a badly needed and tremendously well-done examination of Anne Frank, her book, adaptations of her book, and her place and influence in our society today. I was worried at first at what tone the author might take--there have been enough sappy sentimentalists writing about Anne and "people are really good at heart" and yet I did not want to see DAF ripped to shreds and left to die, either. Prose has found a wonderful balance between the needed criticism and a basic admiration for Anne as a ...more
Oct 31, 2009 Shirley rated it really liked it
In this book Francine Prose reveals what is likely a surprise to many of us who have read the book published as Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl - it is not, strictly speaking, a diary (i.e., entries written in chronological order and faithfully retained as such). Anne Frank furiously rewrote her original diary entries, beginning a few months before her family was discovered by the Gestapo in the Annex in which it had been hiding, in the hopes that her diary would someday be published. Otto ...more
Alex Templeton
Nov 21, 2009 Alex Templeton rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic, and fascinating. It not only appeals to the reader (such as myself) who is interested in Anne Frank, but who is also interested in the appreciation of talented writers, with a little human psychology thrown into the mix. Before I read this book, I did not know (or, at least, did not remember from any prior reading that I'd done) that Anne had done many revisions on her diary, in the hope that it would able to be published as a historical document of wartime, once the ...more
I was never assigned The Diary of A Young Girl in school - I either picked it up myself or a teacher suggested it to me, right around fifth grade. And my fascination with Anne and her circumstances, with the differences between her tiny world and the world-changing events surrounding her story, and with the lessons we can take away from her words, has stuck with me ever since.

Perhaps it's because I read her diary outside of an academic setting, but I've never thought about it as a literary clas
Dec 31, 2011 Barb rated it liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Prose discusses Anne Frank's life, her work as a writer, the versions of her diary, and what happened after the publication of the diary. Prose is at her best when discussing Anne as a writer; I didn't know about the various versions of the diary, or that Anne had revised it (which seems somewhat obvious, in retrospect).

The sections on the play get bogged down with details about the controversy about the writing; Prose acts as though the reader of the book is already familiar with the people in
Elliot Ratzman
Sep 07, 2016 Elliot Ratzman rated it liked it
Anne Frank’s Diary “even more mysterious and fundamental than Augustine’s…the conversion of a child into a person” (Philip Roth). Read it in junior high? Saw the play? Forget all that, read this book, a fascinating review of her life, the writing of the diary, and its afterlife. The author makes the strong case for Anne Frank’s talent as a writer and for the diary as an important work of art. Anne Frank revised the diary for publication after they hear on the radio the Dutch government in exile ...more
Ginny Messina
Jan 10, 2010 Ginny Messina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: holocaust
I’m a little surprised by how much I loved this book which is about Anne Frank’s family, her diary, the story of how it came to be published and the play and movies that were based on it. I expected the parts about Anne and the diary to be interesting, but not the rest of it. The book is just packed with fascinating information and insights, though. I put it down several times to check out videos on the web—those of the movie, and most compelling of all, the rare 10 seconds of footage of Anne ...more
Nov 29, 2009 Jojo rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Prose presents an interesting perspective on Anne Frank as a writer. Most interesting, though, is probably her discussion of "the afterlife" of the diary. How the diary has been fought over, interpreted, and used for various purposes, as well as how it is taught in the US and in other countries, provides context for interpreting my own sense of the diary when I first read it in the 70s and how I perceive it now as a more educated adult. I would recommend this book for anyone who will ever teach ...more
This was a really interesting book. I had no idea there had been so much (forgive the pun) drama about the creation of the play based on Anne Frank's diary. The author definitely does not think highly of either version of the play, nor of the movie, but her love and regard for the diary comes shining through. This definitely made me want to read The Diary of a Young Girl and see how my response to it has changed now that I am adult.
Apr 14, 2010 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Prose's book revisits Anne Frank and her legacy, positioning herself from a perspective that takes Frank seriously as a writer, rather than, as the myth tells us, a precocious schoolgirl whose diary was a mere lucky accident of history. As Prose makes plain, Frank approached her writing from the beginning as a deliberate craft; she anticipated it being published after the war and she intentionally revised it and amended it for a broad public. Prose writes:

"Like most of Anne Frank's readers, I h
Jul 19, 2012 Edith rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, non-fiction
Probably most of us have read “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank in our teen years. All of my children also read it in their 7th grade Calvert curriculum some 10-20 years ago. I saw the high school play while a teen (at Central Christian, Julia!) and my children’s home school academy also performed the play one year.

What I did not know is that Anne herself went back and revised and rewrote her original diary after she and her family listened to a broadcast of Dutch news from the governme
Lizabeth Tucker
The Diary of Anne Frank. Some readers had this book assigned by their teachers. Others found it through recommendations by friends or librarians. Almost all those readers are children or preteens. Some schools ban it, for so many reasons. I believe that everyone should read it, at least twice. It is an extraordinary work, more so by a child from the ages of 13 to 15.

Prose delves into Anne Frank's oft ignored talents. While the diary is non-fiction, it is as tightly structured as a great work of
Dec 03, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has read Anne's diary
Francine Prose's book is a very comprehensive--but not abstract or unfocused--look at Anne Frank, as a person and as a writer, at her diary, and at her legacy and impact on our world today. It delivers much more than just the promised "The Book, The Life, The Afterlife" and yet is not too long or too dry, but instead is very readable.

She begins with a brief biographical look at the Frank family and Anne, and at Otto Frank (who is himself almost the second hero/protagonist of this book, after An
Mar 05, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Julie by: NPR
I recommend this to anyone who has been touched by the story of Anne Frank, as well as anyone interested in the art and craft of writing.

Francine Prose examines the diary of Anne Frank in the context of its various drafts, editions and versions on stage and as a movie; in other words, she regards Anne as a legitimate writer and her diary as a work of art.

The book with which we are most familiar, The Diary of a Young Girl, published in the United States in 1952, is in fact an adaptation of Anne
Jim Fisketti
Jul 19, 2012 Jim Fisketti rated it it was amazing
Anne Frank's image is one of the most iconic on earth. Her Diary was been read by millions thoughout the world including countless students in American middle and high schools.She is the most widely know figure representing the Holocaust as well as genocide.
The details are well know. The Franks, Anne, her parents,Otto and edith, sister Margot,a middle aged couple,their adolescent son and a dentist, hid from the Nazi Gestapo for over two years in an attic in Amsterdam. They were hidden by Ottos h
Jan 10, 2011 MAP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history, wwii
*****this is my own personal story...skip to read the main review*****
The Diary of Anne Frank was one of the first books that had a massive impact on me. I read it first at the age of 7 or 8 (way too young) and have read it almost every year since then.

I read it as a young child and was fascinated with her observations, her clever recounting of day to day life, the way she described the people around her.

I read her as a teenager and was shocked to discover how much her own questions about her bo
Jan 05, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I’m taking a class on legal issues in publishing. We talk about things like copyright law, libel law, and defamation. It’s not terribly exciting. In fact, it’s terribly unexciting. For one of our class projects about censorship, though, we have to prepare a presentation on banned books. My book? Anne Frank’s diary.

I have very distinct memories of reading Anne’s diary for a book report when I was in seventh grade. Even though I was way too old, I read it curled up in bed with my mom. I had been g
Jul 26, 2011 Cari rated it liked it
Three stars is maybe a little harsh, but half-stars aren't an option here and as the second half of the book (focusing on the play and movie versions, including all the backstabbing and intrigue involved) gets muddled and bogged down, I can't quite bring myself to give it four stars.

Prose shines in her analysis of the Diary itself, including Anne's maturation as a writer, the rewrites, and Otto's handling of the material when it passed into his hands after the war. Focusing on Anne the writer (a
Elizabeth K.
Dec 07, 2011 Elizabeth K. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Susann
Shelves: 2011-new-reads
The author's intent here is to explore Anne Frank's book as a work of literature. In contrast to what is possibly a general view that part of its appeal is that Anne Frank was a little girl writing a diary for no one but herself, there is documented evidence that Anne Frank indeed intended to seek publication of her diary, and in anticipation of that, started editing her previous entries. Even as a young person, she saw herself as a writer and comparing her original entries against those she rev ...more
May 21, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Wendy Bethel
An excellent read!!

This is about the Anne Frank in the diary ... and not the sensationalized Anne Frank. I learned a lot!

Some people wonder why the diary is still being read today ... how it has transcended time ... after all, it is "just" a diary about a teenage girl. Except it's not. The diary, itself, is a valuable piece of literature that represents an important part of the Holocaust.

This book looks at "life" after the diary was published ... Wow! The obstacles that Otto Frank faced ... unb
Sep 20, 2011 Alden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read The Diary of a Young Girl as a child -- I think I was six or seven years old the first time. Then a year or two ago I picked up The Definitive Edition. I was aware that Otto Frank had done some editing of the diary, and wanted to see what had been reinstated... but when I finished, I wasn't sure. I felt like there might have been a bit more complaining about Anne's mother, but it had been so long since I'd read the first edition I wasn't positive. In the end, I decided it didn't really ...more
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Francine Prose (born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American novelist. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. She has sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own Award, and her novel Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is now teaching at Bard College.

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“Anne is remarkably restrained in calibrating the amount of fear she will admit into the diary. The air raids, the break-ins, and the brutality reported by the helpers and glimpsed from the window appear at regular intervals, so that the reader can never fully relax.” 2 likes
“Because the diary was not written in retrospect, it contains the trembling life of every moment.” 2 likes
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