24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prose Makes A Compelling Case
When originally released in the United States, Anne Frank's THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL met with unmitigated enthusiasm, inspiring everyone who read it with its call to understanding and forgiveness. In a new era, civilized people tolerate the intolerable and allow the same book to be labeled false and pornographic by a vocal few. Yet still the book inspires, speaking a...
Published on October 5, 2009 by Bookreporter
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review
I must admit when i first bought this book, i thought i was buying the actual diary of anne frank. So you should know that this isn't it. But after i started reading it, i was fascinated at the in-depth analysis the author displays about Anne and her life in and around the world. A fascinating read for anyone who can appreciate what it would be like to be hiding during...
Published 19 months ago by deabs07
Most Helpful First | Newest First
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prose Makes A Compelling Case,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)When originally released in the United States, Anne Frank's THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL met with unmitigated enthusiasm, inspiring everyone who read it with its call to understanding and forgiveness. In a new era, civilized people tolerate the intolerable and allow the same book to be labeled false and pornographic by a vocal few. Yet still the book inspires, speaking a universal language with a wisdom that exceeds the years of its writer, teenaged journalist Anne Frank.
This is a book about the book --- a highly favorable critique of its remarkable content and style, and the story of how it came to be. Anne, as it is famously known, was the child of a prominent Dutch Jew, Otto Frank, who converted the attic of his small factory into a cramped hiding place for his family when the deportation of Jews began to take place during the Nazi regime. For two years, the small group woke up, interacted during the night, slept during the day, and successfully kept themselves from discovery with the help of Otto's trusted factory staff, who brought in supplies and maintained total secrecy. At some point, however, their ruse was discovered and the Nazis finally ripped the Frank family apart.
For the average teenage girl the confining conditions would have been intolerable, and had Anne not been a most unusual teenager, it easily could have been hell. But Anne's rare talent for writing helped her focus most of her time on composing the story of the everyday events she observed in the attic, along with her musings about love and war. She understood that her suffering was inconsequential compared to what was happening to her fellow Jew and Dutch friends outside, and at times she would even optimistically reflect on nature and life and celebrated small moments of beauty in the pages of her book.
Award-winning fiction author Francine Prose makes the compelling case that Anne Frank was no ordinary teen and no ordinary diarist. A writer from early childhood, Anne, who was fierce in protecting the privacy of her document, continually revised her "diary" much like an adult author would as she intended it for publication after the war. And although the diary would eventually reach its way to readers around the world, it was a posthumous publication for Anne. Believing her parents to be dead (in reality, her father was able to survive the camps) and watching her older sister die pitifully in the camp "infirmary," Anne passed away a few scant weeks before the liberation of Bergen-Belsen from a combination of typhus, starvation and a broken heart.
Eventually, her father found her diary when he returned to the attic after the war and saw it for the gem that it was. Along with the little book, there were many pages of revisions and additions, so he devoted himself to editing it into a cohesive whole. Transformed into the book we now know so well, the cover was adorned with a picture of Anne's smiling face, an image that has become an international icon of hope. Prose gives us the back story of the long process of bringing the diary to publication, to the stage and screen, and the serious, often litigious squabbles for the book's rights. Despite the arduous task in bringing the work to the masses, it was all worth the trouble as it became a beacon for tolerance upon publication.
But tragically, like all beautiful things, it was eventually tainted. The book was marked for destruction by Neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers; if Anne's story is true, then their twisted beliefs would be impossible to defend. Otto Frank, inspired by his young daughter's spirit, seemed to feel that he needed to uphold her truth by forgiving those who wanted to wrest the story from him, those who claimed he had written the book himself for profit, those who declared that the book was a cesspool of Semitic sex and pedophilic fantasies, and those who wanted the world to believe that Anne never lived and never died. Frank remained curiously passive toward the hate-mongering critics, yet obsessively devoted to the cause of spreading Anne's story, keeping it alive for all times.
Reading this book brings back memories of one's first reading of THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, a literate paean to the idealism of youth amidst the terror and bleak reality of war and hate. It will undoubtedly prompt us to re-read young Anne's diary as a multi-layered work --- not just the chronicle of long-ago events told by a bright youngster, but as a brilliant work of art given to the world by a rare, lost genius.
--- Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It has the shape of drama and literature.",
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)Francine Prose, in "Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife," takes a comprehensive look at an individual who, more than six decades after her death, remains an iconic figure all over the world. Prose considers "The Diary of Anne Frank" to be "the greatest book ever written about a thirteen-year-old girl." After rereading the diary as an adult, she concludes that it is not merely "the innocent and spontaneous outpourings of a teenager," but rather "a consciously crafted work of literature," one that Anne revised thoroughly, hoping to reach a wide audience someday. Between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, Anne developed from a girl into a mature adolescent whose keen self-awareness, understanding of human nature, and moral vision were remarkable in one so young. The author pays homage to Anne's technique, characterization, detailed descriptive writing, and skillful use of dialogue, all of which contribute to the diary's widespread appeal.
Anne Frank is divided into four sections: The Life, The Book, The Afterlife, and Anne Frank in the Schools. Prose recounts the events leading up to the Franks' decision to go into hiding. Otto Frank, his wife, Edith, and their two children, as well as four other people, stayed in the annex for two years and one month. They were helped immeasurably by a compassionate Dutch woman named Miep Gies, who did what she could to make the residents as comfortable as possible. Ultimately, however, someone betrayed them and they all perished, with the exception of Otto Frank. In part two, Prose recounts the genesis of the diary and provides details about Anne's revisions, Otto Frank's edits, the controversies that the diary generated, and its reception by the publishing industry. Later, Prose goes on to describe the adaptations of the diary for the stage and screen, the Anne Frank Museum and Foundation in Amsterdam, and the teaching of "The Diary of Anne Frank" in the classroom.
Anne has become an integral part of the fabric of our lives, and Prose makes a convincing case that the diary is more than just a series of banal reflections jotted down by a precocious youngster. Unfortunately, instead of developing this theme more fully, Prose allows herself to get sidetracked. She dwells too much on peripheral matters, and even devotes a few pages to the Holocaust deniers who claim that Anne's diary is a fake. The final chapter on how the diary can be taught in the classroom will, unsurprisingly, be of more interest to educators than to the average reader. Francine Prose is to be admired for sharing her well-researched conclusions with us, but her book would have been more cohesive and readable had she not strayed so far afield from her main thesis.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Literature, as Drama, as Film, as Life,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)Millions have read it. It's been a successful play, an Academy award winning film, and the basis of studies, documentaries, and features of great museums. Taught in schoolrooms across the country and around the world, the Diary of a Young Girl is not only a great account of people living in hiding for two years, but held up as a beacon of hope, a voice for the downtrodden, a source of courage from people no less than Nelson Mandela. Still, one wonders how many people take this book as great literature? Francine Prose does, and she goes great lengths in dissecting, and ultimately, affirming Anne Frank in her marvelous study, "Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife."
The aptly named Ms. Prose fell in love with Anne's book as a young girl, and now, as an adult, takes time to contemplate the deeper significance of the diary, addressing Anne as a writer (and not just a silly teenage girl), the themes she built into the writing and rewriting of her diary, and the following media that truly shaped how many of us approach Anne's diary, often in mistaken ways.
At the start of her study, Prose begins by providing an accurate and quick summary of Anne's life, and the context in which she began her diary, and the development of the book itself. One of the marvelous threads in this discussion is her revelation (although, for me, it shouldn't have been even though it was!) that Anne's diary wasn't written in a single draft, but went through extensive revisions by Anne as she developed her writer's voice, a recognition of a possible audience, and the desire for her diary to be consistant, tell a story, tell a cohesive story. Prose's assertion of Anne's development of her writer's craft has been missing from any discussion of the diary in schoolrooms, and it refreshens and deepens our appreciation of this budding and silenced author.
Prose's chapters on the play and the film are complete and somewhat harsh; from Prose's opinion, deservedly so. She is no fan of either, mostly based on the portrayals of Anne in the films as a giddy, young girl without a brain (Prose's most painful moment from the film? The first scene with Anne where we see her removing her underwear. Oy!). It disservices the image Prose works to create in the previous chapters of a proactive Anne; after watching the film, it is nearly impossible to connect the deep work of this author with this Anne on the screen.
In fact, it goes into a deeper thought of what we need of our heroes. Anne has passed from writer and Holocaust victim to symbol of hope, optimism, courage, and inner strength. In doing so, we need to transform Anne from human to almost mythical, yet, we do not maintain in our society many images of strong women, much less strong girls (and those that are are labeled quickly with an unflattering label that shant appear in this review). Is Anne's rise as a giddy young girl a result of our inability to see young girls as anything else? What if there was a play, or a film, with Anne, closer as to what she really was? Maybe it is Anne Frank Remembered?
At any rate, Prose's book is a great read for those Anne Frank devotees wanting more about this miraculous girl ... no, this miraculous author, who continues to impress, amaze, and inspire us, with her words, her writing, and her two years spent in hiding just to survive.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, although a needless buildup,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)It appears that when an occurrence or person attains a certain fame, increasingly more is read into it. Author Prose does so perhaps to the utmost. As a Holocaust survivor myself, I would like to bring things down to earth some. Anne Frank was one of the millions of victims of Nazism, and her plight happened to be recorded by her to a reasonable extent, and that recording happened to survive and become known along with attending circumstances.
Her story is particularly poignant, because she was a child, representative of the many others eventually brutally murdered. However, Prose portrays her as so exceptional in personal qualities that it diminishes in merit other victims (I hope not to be self-serving, but objective). The author characterizes her as a "literary genius" (p.69), a "prodigy" (p.131), her writing a "masterpiece" (p.69), "that the seeming artlessness of her style is an artistic achievement" (p.264). Could it be that her style was genuinely artless, unpretentious? It seems author Prose only weakens her credibility by such superlatives, when Anne Frank deserves a sober account of her tragic misfortune in order to be appreciated.
Author Prose heightens the reader's sense of insufficient reliability by describing young Anne (p.84) as "beautiful", as "photogenic", while readers are themselves enabled to make such a judgment. No doubt many will not see the child as beautiful and photogenic, unless every child can be so described. Rather, little Anne projects (as I see it) sweetness and innocence, which should arouse more sympathy than the preceding descriptions.
I don't want to fault author Prose too much, since she informs well in many aspects, as in calling attention to Nazi inhumanity in many forms, like the language they used. For instance, she mentions (p.170) Nazi lists as recording people transported to Auschwitz as "Stücke" (pieces). Incidentally, she left out the "umlaut", the dots over "u" or alternatively a subsequent "e". This is characteristic of a looseness of research in the book. Linguistically, the author often quotes translations; in one case she writes (p.30) "Mutti" as if a name, but which is a German equivalent of "mommy"; elsewhere she writes (e.g. p.142) "Daddy" and "Mummy", with capitals, used for German nouns. She writes (p.40) "Reynhard Heydrich" instead of "Reinhard" for the Nazi monster, and (p.60) "Thieresienstadt" for "Theresienstadt", the concentration camp.
On the same page is also an example of what may be a relative naiveté about the Holocaust. She writes of Anne's father as "Down to a hundred and fourteen pounds" before liberation from Auschwitz. I was not in Auschwitz and can't dispute this, but the author seems disturbed by that weight, which is not comparable to the weight of most inmates liberated from concentration camps. Liberated from Gunskirchen, my weight was about 35 kilos, 77 pounds, at height of 5'9˝", and I did better than most. The author also quotes (p.58) the demise of Anne's sister in Bergen-Belsen: "Margot had fallen out of bed onto the stone floor..." During my captivity of about a year, beginning with slave labor, a bed was unthinkable. The best we started with was padding with straw. I was not in Bergen-Belsen, but beds for inmates, in quite similarly run camps, appear to me very doubtful.
The author also seems to suppose too much knowledge on the part of European Jews. She writes (p.50): "Anne managed to make an insane and horrifying reality - a family was about to spend two years in an attic to avoid being rounded up and killed - seem...merely like an unusual turn in the normal course of events." Anne couldn't know how long she would live in the attic, or that they'd be killed. We were largely ignorant of our future, hoping the madness would soon end. The author thinks Anne knew about the Holocaust because writing: "If it's that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they're being gassed. Perhaps that's the quickest way to die" (p.234). Sadly, it's not the quickest way, and Anne and her family merely assumed things, excepting radio broadcasts that were sketchy, as "quickest way" indicates. On the whole, we knew nothing about the systematic murders, learning about "the final solution" only after liberation.
It seems noteworthy that the author keeps referring to those who kept the Franks and cohabitants hidden and provided their life's necessities as "helpers". They deserve much better. They were heroic benefactors, ones we came to call righteous Gentiles. Nevertheless, the author is of historic service by probing into the many details surrounding those events.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank In Reality,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank became an instant classic when it was published in the 1950s. The book, and the play, movie, and other dramatizations and adaptations have all made such deep impressions that the identity of the young girl who was Anne Frank herself has been obscured.
Francine Prose has done a good job of recovering the real Anne Frank. This book is part biography, part literary critique, and part history of the diary and the reactions to it over the years. I was impressed by how much of the real history of Anne Frank had been recovered, and I found the literary critique of her writing interesting as well. I had not realized, though now that I know it seems obvious, that much of Anne's diary, particularly the first few entries, must have been rewritten and edited. Prose reveals that it was Anne herself who did much of the editing work during her last few months in hiding.
I was also intrigued by the stories behind the development of the play and movie. Having seen and loved both the movie and the play, it was a bit of a surprise to me to realize, thanks to Prose's analysis, that some of the most famous lines were actually inserted by others, and are not original to Anne herself (though I think a good argument could be made that she would have agreed with them). I was surprised to read of the bitter arguments over whether the diary was too dark or too Jewish (!) to appeal to a general audience. Perhaps the most interesting, if disturbing, section of the book details the disgusting efforts to discredit the diary as a counterfeit.
This book adds immensely to our understanding of the gifted young writer who was Anne Frank, and if it tears away some illusions, it makes her in her newly revealed complexities all the more fascinating.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Insight, Analysis and Pursuit of The Real Anne Frank,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)Francine Prose, of all the writers, has finally unveiled the true essence of the little girl who was so much more than all of us realized even though we were enthralled by Anne's diary and so many of the remembrances of friends, true heroines and those authors who invested their hearts in the diary and in pursuing the person who lived it and wrote it. Of utmost importance is the research regarding the published editions of the diary, the publishing market that initially ignored it, the stage dramatization, the film and the various dramatic presentations that have followed. In Prose's skilled writing Anne finally becomes the incredibly gifted young authoress that certain writers recognized early on. The "little bundle of contradictions" was not only a young girl becoming a young woman but a keen and constant observer of people, events and situations. Prose knows that the diary is read by thousands upon thousands of young students who find within its pages a miraculous mirror of their adolescent angst and longings. She also knows that the diary is a testament to Anne's amazing perspective and her ability to exceed that adolescence as a rather brilliant young writer.
The chapters that trace the creation of the stage-play show the convoluted and often-dense conceptualizations of so many adults whose sincere desire to do something noble and correct is too often undermined by commercialism, ego and a certain dense perception of the beautiful and wonderful property they sought to enlarge. Likewise, the film adaptation is presented in all of its multifacted silliness - simply one more commercial use of a brilliant and honest original. Much of the life in the "annex" is dealt with as is the arrest. Moreover the reader can, at last, follow the unvarnished and tragic end of a human spirit so innocent, so talented, so free and so deserving of living to a ripe old age. Even some of the evil mental machinations and accusations hurled by neo-Nazis and Anti-Semites are discussed in Prose's wonderful style. There is, in this book, always the presence of a kinship between writers per se - the author and Anne - something perhaps beyond mere memory and tribute - the pure essence of recognizing a singular example of art, long overdue
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review,
This review is from: Anne Frank (Kindle Edition)I must admit when i first bought this book, i thought i was buying the actual diary of anne frank. So you should know that this isn't it. But after i started reading it, i was fascinated at the in-depth analysis the author displays about Anne and her life in and around the world. A fascinating read for anyone who can appreciate what it would be like to be hiding during the war and the emotions a little girl and her family were feeling.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly informative, but rambling in parts,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)Francine Prose believes in Anne Frank's gift as a writer. Anne wanted to publish her diary, so she started revising it during the winter and spring of 1944. Entries have been added, predated to match her memories of the previous year and a half in hiding. Through Anne's own revision, the diary became a masterpiece. Anne, claims Prose, has a gift for drawing out characters, for using miniscule events to explain characters, etc.
Prose wants us to know the REAL Anne , that is, a complicated, moody, sensitive, introspective Jewish teenager who was forced into hiding because she was Jewish. The play and the movie do not show this. (Although Meyer Levin tried very hard to write a script with Anne as a Jewish girl.!!!) Anne suffered because she was Jewish. Anne butted heads with Peter when he said it'd be easier if he were a Christian. Anne starts to develop a relationship with God, defining Him mostly on her terms. (Her mother encourages her to use their Hebrew prayer book, but all Anne can do is admire their beauty.)
Anne is not the chipper, goofy, head-over-heels in love teenager that her theatrical version is. Prose points out that the theatrical details of her arrest are all wrong. Anne was with her mother and sister, not Peter. Bright clouds and somewhat cheery music play as the film ends? Prose asks us to think about what this means. Anne suffered the last months of her life. We don't know what happened when the Franks, van Pels, and Pfeffer were carted off to the jail. We only know that, as Otto reported, Anne started out the train window on the ride to Westerborken. But what about after? Prose reminds us that the Annex residents were given dirty, dirty work. And then comes Auschwitz, where all we know is that the Franks rode together on the cattle car, and that Otto told them to meet in Switzerland after the war. Otto never sees his daughters again. The only shred of hope we have is the rumor that Prose passes on - that when Anne was boarding the train to Bergen-Belsen, she was waving to the men, hoping her father would see her. Suppsedly, he did. Is this true? Prose continues talking about Anne's suffering.
Prose also shows us the other side of Petronella van Dam, that is, Auguste van Pels. (Remember, Auguste tended to Anne and Margot at Bergen-Belsen, and she took Anne to meet up with long-lost friend Hanneli. ) Again, this reinforces that Anne was rewriting her diary for an audience, and was also a typical teenager, critical of adults.
At times, however, the book rambles and loses its focuses. It comes down to this - Annelies Marie Frank, a Jewish teenaged girl, used her tough time in the hiding place to rewrite and revise her diary into a literary masterpiece. Annelies Marie Frank's legacy was Americanized/universalized into a goofy teenager with a bleeding heart. (Please reread the entry "I still believe people are really good". RE-READ it, because that one statement has become soooo overused.) Get to know the real Anne, you won't be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent look at Anne Frank as a person and as a writer,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)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 Anne). We learn about Anne as a girl before going into hiding, and then Prose takes a deeper look at Anne's development inside the annex, with particular attention paid to her development as a writer and artist. There are examples from the two drafts of her diary to compare and contrast, and Prose explains with close reading exactly what the improvements are.
After talking about the diary as a piece of literature, Prose moves on to discuss "the afterlife" of the book. We go with her to visit the Anne Frank Museum, and some of the people who work in the attached Anne Frank Foundation and hear from them what they are trying to accomplish. We learn about the drama that prevailed behind the scenes of almost every aspect of bringing the story to a wider audience, from the difficulties of finding willing publishers, to the squabbles over who could write the adaptations, to the way that the Annes of the stage and screen don't at all resemble the Anne of the diary. Prose also discusses various theories and essays that cover all sorts of aspects of Anne and her diary, from those who think Otto Frank censored his daughter to those who praise Anne yet seem to have completely misunderstood her (and all points in between and far beyond). There is also a long, and somewhat sickening, section about the people who claim that the diary is fake.
Finally, and much needed after hearing about the insanity and horror of the Anne Frank and Holocaust deniers, Prose turns to the teaching of Anne's diary in school. She discusses the difficulties many teachers have in finding ways to deal with the subject matter, and offers her own ideas. Last of all is a chapter about her own experience teaching the diary in a university class on close reading. She shares the responses of her students, and it is heartening to read the thoughts from these people who have come to know and love Anne the way so many readers of her diary have.
Prose does have a bias--she is unabashedly praiseful and defensive of Anne (although she does recognize Anne's faults) and her skill as a writer, and of Otto Frank. However, I think most people would agree that she has chosen the right side to have a bias for, and and I don't think it detracts from her book in any way. Instead, Prose demonstrates in this book that she has a true and deep understanding of Anne, and she shares it with the reader. I learned so much from this book, and yet it made me want to want to learn more--I now need to read either the Critical or the Definitive Edition of Anne Frank's diary, whichever I can get my hands on first. It was a pleasure to read a book about Anne Frank and her diary that was clearly written by someone who deeply cares about the original material, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who is at all interested in the subject.
I won this book from a goodreads' first reads contest.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Synthesis,
This review is from: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (Hardcover)As I consider myself a minor, amateur Anne Frank scholar, I always try to read whatever new books come out on the subject. In this case, the subtitle indicates what subjects Ms. Prose has tried to cover. The first section covers Anne's life, the second section investigates the book, and the third section discusses the various things that have arisen out of the diary's success like the play, film and so on. For the most part, she does a good job.
In fact, there are a number of things that I like about this book. The opening biographical section is quite nice, filling in a lot of gaps not covered in the diary. She also does a nice job of discussing issues of the book and its success, such as the work done to authenticate the diary, the controversy with Meyer Levin, and the impact of the play and film. Though much of this information can be found in other places, Ms. Prose's book is a nice synthesis for someone who is not going to read widely about the diary.
What really makes Ms. Prose's book stand apart is her serious treatment of the diary as literature. She looks at how Anne rewrote the diary near the end of her stay in the Secret Annex and how those changes indicate her growth as a writer. She also makes the reader aware of the editorial impact that Otto had when he put the diary into manuscript after the war. Again, these are conclusions that a reader of the expanded diary or the critical edition might draw but, as most people don't read these versions, it is nice to have the information out there in a more user-friendly work.
I don't agree with every aspect of her analysis. In particular, I feel she leaves a rather harsh impression of the stage play and movie. Granted, the characters in these forms of the diary are not the same as in the diary itself, but all characters from literature are transformed heavily for the stage and screen. They are different and must be treated as such. They are moving in their own way and do illustrate aspects of Anne's character. And, while it is true that some of the other residents of the Annex suffer in translation as well, they all became characters and not real people once Anne put pen to paper. Most reasonable people understand that Fritz Pfeffer was probably very different than how Anne portrays him, as her conflicts with him colored her presentation.
I'm also disturbed by the way she takes issue with the way the diary is taught. Like all compelling pieces of literature, the diary is complex and has varying levels and themes. If the way the diary is presented to middle-schoolers and even older students is less-than-complete, in her view, it sounds to me like someone who has very little experience with teaching heterogeneous groups of young people. When I teach math and physics to high school students, I am sometimes dismayed at the simplifications needed to reach some students. However, it is part of laying the lower parts of the scaffold on which students can build more complex knowledge.
Still, in the end, this is a very good book. It is a welcome addition to our understand of The Diary of a Young Girl.
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Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose (Hardcover - September 29, 2009)
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