Teresa's Reviews > Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife

Anne Frank by Francine Prose
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Mar 06, 12

Read in March, 2012

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 Anne's book is not truly a diary (Anne herself wanted her book to be called 'Het Achterhuis,' meaning "The House Behind."), but a memoir, and that it is the work of a true writer, I did wonder after reading the definitive edition what all the fuss was about over her father supposedly editing out unflattering things about the family from her work -- he didn't, it's all there -- in fact, he put back some things Anne herself had edited out while she was writing her draft from her early diary entries.

So, while there was not a lot new to me in Prose's book, it was nice to have my ideas 'validated' by her. Her common sense cuts through so much of the rhetoric Anne's book (and her father, who had suffered so much already) had to endure. (Why criticize the diary for not being a Holocaust (meaning not being about life in the concentration camps) document? Critique it for what it is, and much of it is about living in constant fear and terror of being found by the police, not to mention the early descriptions of the increasing restrictions on Dutch Jews before they started to be rounded up.)

The new-to-me stuff -- the behind-the-scenes wrangling (including the watering-down of Anne's intelligent voice) of the stage play and the movie (which I saw a long time ago on TV) -- while unfortunate, was not surprising, considering this is Broadway and Hollywood we're talking about. But even that has had its upside, as it's led some back to the original source material.

Prose also has a chapter on the Holocaust-deniers who believe Anne's diary is a hoax. None of that is new to me either, though her paragraph about some of these sick people in internet chat rooms hits hard. Alas, there must be constant battles against this kind of ignorance and hate.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely How dare them say that Anne's diary is a hoax. :( There are many books written about it including those written from the perspective of Anne's father or the lady employee of him (I forgot the name) but I read it a couple of years ago. Anything about Anne Frank still interests me despite having read other Holocaust novel. I think it has something to do with seeing the war (even if she was not in the concentration camp) through an eyes of a child or a teenager.


message 2: by Teresa (last edited Mar 07, 2012 09:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teresa K.D. wrote: "How dare them say that Anne's diary is a hoax. :( There are many books written about it including those written from the perspective of Anne's father or the lady employee of him (I forgot the name)..."

Plus it was authenticated by handwriting etc experts because of what people were saying, but there are always some crazy people out there who want to believe that everything is a conspiracy, despite the facts. It is sad.

Miep Gies is the woman you're thinking of, K.D. I read her Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family too, pre-GR.


message 3: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely Oh yes, T. I love Miep Gies!!! Thanks. :)


message 4: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Interesting review. Teresa. I appreciated your analyses.


Teresa Barbara wrote: "Interesting review. Teresa. I appreciated your analyses."

Thanks, Barbara.


message 6: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Nice review Teresa. Hard to believe I've reached my age without reading The diary of Anne Frank. Teresa is there a specific edition I should read, as I do intend to read it this year.


message 7: by Wendy (new)

Wendy I agree w/ Sue -- a great review Teresa! I wonder, have you also read The Hidden Life of Otto Frank. Although the title makes it sound very mysterious there isn't all that much mystery about it, but it was interesting and provided some additional background about Anne's life, family and the lives of the people she left behind.


Teresa Sue wrote: "Nice review Teresa. Hard to believe I've reached my age without reading The diary of Anne Frank. Teresa is there a specific edition I should read, as I do intend to read it this year."

Thanks, Sue. I don't think it matters all that much. The definitive edition includes 'everything' including Anne's original entries (ones she improved on later) and edits, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary to read. The 'old' edition, the one schools still use, is perfectly fine.


Teresa Wendy wrote: "I agree w/ Sue -- a great review Teresa! I wonder, have you also read The Hidden Life of Otto Frank. Although the title makes it sound very mysterious there isn't all that much myst..."

Thanks, Wendy! No, I haven't read it, but I'll put it on my 'list.' Thanks for the recommendation.


message 10: by Nilesh (new)

Nilesh Kashyap I have been also hearing a lot about this hoax thing, even there is a discussion going on it in the page of Diary of a Young Girl.


Teresa Nilesh wrote: "I have been also hearing a lot about this hoax thing, even there is a discussion going on it in the page of Diary of a Young Girl."

It's crazy. Sometimes you just can't change people's minds about something they want to believe, for whatever reason they have for wanting to believe it. The diary was authenticated by various experts because of the hoax talk, and all the evidence is there that it isn't, but those who want to believe otherwise won't care.


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