- Title: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife
- Author: Francine Prose
- Released: 2009-09-29
- Pages: 336
- ISBN: 006143079X
- ASIN: B003BVK4V0
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From Publishers Weekly
In considering the iconic diary of Anne Frank, prolific novelist and critic Prose (Reading Like a Writer
), praises the young writer's fresh narrative voice, characterizations, sense of pacing and ear for dialogue. Prose calls her a literary genius whose diary was a consciously crafted work of literature rather than the spontaneous outpourings of a teenager, and offers evidence that Frank scrupulously revised her work shortly before her arrest and intended to publish it after the war. Fans of literary gossip will savor how writer Meyer Levin, a close friend of Anne's father, Otto Frank, famously gave the Diary
a front-page rave in the New York Times
and later sued Otto when his script for a play based on it was rejected. Some may conclude that Prose contributes to a queasy-making idolization and commodification of Anne Frank, and that she lets Otto Frank off the hook too easily for minimizing the Jewish essence of the Holocaust, yet the author lucidly collates material from a wide range of sources, and her work would be valuable as a teaching guide for middle school, high school and college students. (Oct.)
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At first, critics doubted that anything fresh could be added to this subject, but they soon agreed that Prose sheds new light on Anne Frank in her provocative and penetrating study. She makes a compelling case for Frank's literary brilliance, and though she considers the diary a "masterpiece," she candidly assesses its limitations. Prose also remains impressively impartial when sizing up the colorful figures who had a stake in Anne Frank's diary after her death. Though the New York Times Book Review
felt the narrative reads like a study guide at times, others praised Prose's "dogged and impassioned scholarship" (New York Times
). Written with great sympathy and sensitivity, Prose challenges readers to rethink the story they thought they knew and its impact across the globe.