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The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,463 ratings  ·  167 reviews
On February 16, 1944, Anne Frank recorded in her diary that Peter, whom she at first disliked but eventually came to love, had confided in her that if he got out alive, he would reinvent himself entirely. This is the story of what might have happened if the boy in hiding survived to become a man.


Peter arrives in America, the land of self-creation; he flourishes in business
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,463 ratings  ·  167 reviews


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Sarah
8/8 - It was interesting reading this because I kept forgetting it wasn't real, that Peter hadn't actually survived the Nazis and made it to America. I was very impressed with the amount of research Feldman put into the story and I really liked the quotes, taken from numerous sources, that started each paragraph. Those quotes gave authenticity to what was happening in the story, they seemed to make Peter fit in to the documented events completely believably.

Some of Peter's actions and reactions
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Melissa
Sep 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
I was looking forward to reading this book after having enjoyed Feldman's other novel, Lucy. However, I was highly disappointed by this book. The title of this novel is deceiving--I was expecting a story about the romance or friendship between Peter and Anne while in hiding and the impact of this relationship on Peter's and/or Anne's lives following the war. It may have been a more interesting twist if Feldman had wrote the novel as if in addition to Peter, Anne had survived the Holocaust as wel ...more
Shelby Lynne
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was so much more than I expected it to be. Thoughtful, incisive, challenging, taut, fraught with emotion and memory. My obsession with Anne has led me down some weird rabbit trails, but this one paid off in the end. 4.5 stars.
Indya
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Yay, finally finished my first book of the year!
Mrs. Katie Laugen
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman is an intriguing novel; however it had a disappointing ending. This is a story of "what if" Peter Van Daan [Van Pels] had lived? He survived the concentration camps, but the Red Cross has no record of him living. So what does he do? He moves to America, where he marries a Jewish girl (but insists that he is not Jewish himself) and starts a family. His family knows that he was in Amsterdam during the war and was sent to a concentration camp, but he cl ...more
Jamie Brooks
May 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book was kind of hard for me to get through. Not because I didn't like it, but because it was a bit slow moving and hard to get into. I liked it though. It was told from an interesting perspective. Everyone talks about Anne Frank (who's diary made me cry I might add, but then again what sad book doesn't? *sigh* I'm such a baby), but Peter was never reported dead or alive. I like the idea of him being alive and still caring about Anne. I didn't regret reading this book, but it was wasn't the ...more
Heather
May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The author clearly did her research, used archival material, but made the story compelling and hard to put down. While it could be a stretch to imagine that Peter Van Pels survived the War, the author made it seem real and very imaginable. Terrific read!
Gina Baik
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I did enjoy this book more than I thought I would but I still feel like I didn't really like have to read this book. "Anne Frank the Diary of a Young Girl" was a way better book. This book just kind of tells us Peter's life after he was with Anne and also how he reacts to the falsehoods and just the movies about Anne's diary and Anne's diary itself. To conclude, this book was meh.
Eric Klee
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
The novel by Ellen Feldman attempts to weave a story about the "what ifs" of the boy Peter van Daan from The Diary Of Anne Frank. Such as, "What if Peter survived the Holocaust, moved to America, and changed his name to Peter van Pels?"

In this imaginary scenario, Peter is still "in hiding" in America. He keeps his secrets from everyone. Nobody knows that he escaped the Nazis. When the book, play, and movie about Anne Frank's diary come out, nobody knows that he's "the boy who loved Anne Frank."
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bookyeti
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it
3.5/5 stars

There are very few women my age who have NOT read The Diary of Anne Frank. It is one of the few secular books that have had an impact on my life. The author, Ellen Feldman, draws from that harrowing true life story and offers us a glimpse of what may have happened if Peter - Anne's young love - would have survived the Nazi regime and continued to live his life, after immigrating to America.

The young Jewish boy, Peter van Pels (or van Daan as Anne renames him in her diary) was hidden i
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Kristin
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Decently interesting, but the writer chickens out in the end and (SPOILER) has the boy who was never going to admit he was Jewish admit he was Jewish. Kind of defeats the purpose of writing the book, now doesn't it? We've all seen Schindler's List and so we're not in need of any more sappy endings that are sad yet inspiring. The psychology of the character in the first half of the novel is interesting, interesting enough for me to keep reading and for me to give this a few stars, but not enough ...more
Rachel
I stumbled upon this book--not even sure where. It feels like a disservice saying this book was amazing. Because it was so much more than amazing. It changed me. I know that I'm a different person as a result of this book. Perhaps, it just solidified my obsession with Anne Frank or maybe it's because I'm older now, than when I first discovered Anne and her diary---but the book gave me hope that survival is always possible. That our past may haunt us but in the end when we trust and embrace the p ...more
Lauren
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I looked forward to reading this book, but I just couldn't finish it. The main character of Peter was just unconvincing and well, ordinary (which might have been the point I guess). He had such an incredible story to tell and it just was never told.

Jill Meyer
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it

I recently finished "Anne Frank: Unbound", an anthology about Anne Frank and her continuing influence on the arts and media today. One of the books mentioned as being part of this trend was Ellen Feldman's novel, "The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank: A Novel of Remembering and Forgetting". The book's premise is what if two of the Jews hiding in the Amsterdam Annex survived, not just one. Feldman's novel supposes that young Peter van Pels survived as well as Otto Frank.

In Feldman's story, van Pels survi
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Sarah
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I hated this book, and then I grudgingly admired it. Then, I hated it some more, and then I got all the accompanying feelings that usually go with the Holocaust: compassion, pity, grief. A third of the way through, I wanted nothing more than to snap it closed with fervor and never look at it again. To imagine a life for Peter that he never had a chance to live seemed.....sanctimonious, perhaps even blasphemous.

I'm still conflicted about the concept of re-imagining a life for someone who is dece
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Carol
When I first saw the movie "The Diary of Anne Frank" I was 12 (many years ago) and immediately developed a crush on the character of Peter Van Daan. I was too young to realize that the character was based on a real person and that that person had faced a horrible death in a concentration camp. When I saw this book on the shelf of my local library, I was immediately reminded of my "crush" and was drawn to read it. Yes, Peter Van Daan was a real person, only Anne, for reasons known only to her, ha ...more
Stephanie
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully crafted story. She tells an amazing tale on the simple premiss of a single "What If." What if Peter Van Pels had survived the Holocaust? I loved the story and how she intertwined excerpts from the diary into it using them as Peter's memories. It also shows us a lot about memory and how what we remember may not necessarily be the truth. Peter's journey is one I soon won't forget. He says at the beginning of the story that he has moved on and does not want to live in the past but wha ...more
Erika  Chia
Hace tiempo tenía este libro en los pendientes, apenas se me hizo poder leerlo, al principio me costó, esperaba que la historia iniciara de lleno con el conflicto que le generaría a Peter la publicación del diario de Ana, pero no fue así, la historia se toma su tiempo para llegar a ese climax.

A medida que avanza el libro te vas dando cuenta que no es una historia sobre Peter y Ana, es sobre Peter y su vida después de lo que vivió.

Es una historia que bien por momentos te parece real, te olvidas
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Kim Allen
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fictional novel written from the viewpoint of Peter Van Pels, the young man who was in the attic/annex with Anne Frank. In the novel, he survives and moves to New York, telling no one about his past. Anne referred to him as "Peter Van Daan" in the book, so this helps him stay anonymous. He struggles with his past as it is and with the Anne's diary released in the US in 1952, followed by the play in 1955, his sanity is in danger. As a student of history, I enjoyed this book and the "wha ...more
Kathy
What would it have been like to have been hidden in that annex in Amsterdam, discovered, sent to a concentration camp, survived, and had the opportunity to reinvent oneself? If Peter did survive — how DO you reinvent yourself when you try to forget — to keep your past hidden — yet cannot let it go no matter how hard you try? Can you escape your past?

“The reader will reflect not only on the ‘what-if’...but also on the making of identity and the inescapable power of the past.” (From the book jack
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Sarah
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed, it comes to a point where you think it is true, that Peter did survive. loved it!
Jeani
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Good. I may have had higher expectations given the subject matter, but I appreciated the story.
Kirsty
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: december-2017
I have very much enjoyed the novels of Feldman's which I have read to date, but was a little disappointed by The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank. Whilst the idea behind it - that Peter, of diary fame, survives the Holocaust and emigrates to New York - was inventive and quite original, it was neither as absorbing nor as engaging as I was expecting it to be. It did not plunge into the emotional depths which I was expecting, and I did not feel as though Peter's voice was authentic enough. He was not a lik ...more
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
Fascinating premise, but it felt somewhat long and overly drawn out.
Elaine Sll
book club
Karla
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Doremili
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Si tienes una idea romántica de Peter Van Daan porque leíste a Anna de adolescente y quieres mantenerlo de esa forma para la posteridad este libro no es para ti. Claro que eso te convertiría en el tipo de personas que crítica este libro.

Una perspectiva imaginaria de lo que hubiese sido la vida de Peter de haber sobrevivido, enfocada en la idea que es tenía de querer que nadie supiera que fuera judío pues su situación lo rebasó tanto que oculto todo lo que él era y que cuando se público el diario
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Paula
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
‘The Boy who loved Anne Frank’ tells the story of Peter van pels, also known as Peter van Daan in ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and what if he had survived the war. The story begins with Peter seeing a doctor because he has lost his voice, he does not understand why he has lost his voice but as the story progresses you find out why, as hard as he tries to forget, Peter cannot leave his time in annexe in the past, his experiences following his liberation. Peter struggles with himself, he hides his tr ...more
Owl
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2011
Die Geschichte von Peter van Pels, der mit Anne Frank, ihren Familien und dem Zahnarzt Fritz Pfeffer mehr als zwei Jahre im "Hinterhaus" versteckt lebten ehe sie - wahrscheinlich - verraten und deportiert wurden.
Laut Autorin ist Peter der Einzige, der Hinterhaus-Bewohner über dessen Verbleib man zunächst nichts genaues wusste. Sehr wahrscheinlich ist aber, dass er während eines Gewaltmarsches von Auschwitz nach Mauthausen ums Leben kam. Aber was wäre, wenn er überlebt hatte? Wenn er nur seine Id
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Magpie
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in the story of Anne Frank
This book was absolutely fabulous. It was told by the ever honest but modest Peter van Pels, best friend to the famous Anne Frank. Though the real Peter died three days before his concentration camp was liberated, the author took an interest in him and wrote the story of his life if he had made it.
Peter becomes a citizen of America, a particularly successful one, after having started a business with a good friend. He marries, has children, and lives a seemingly perfect life... until Anne's diar
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Ellen Feldman, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Scottsboro, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, and Lucy. She writes both fiction and social history, and has published articles on the history of divorce, plastic surgery, Halloween, the Normandie, and many other topics, as well as numerous book reviews. She has also lectured extensively around the country and in Germany and England, and is a so ...more