“A definitive, deeply moving inquiry into the life of the young, imperiled artist, and a masterful exegesis of Diary of a Young Girl…Extraordinary testimony to the power of literature and compassion” –Booklist (starred review)
In Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, Francine Prose, author of Reading Like a Writer, deftly parses the artistry, ambition, and enduring influence of Anne Frank’s beloved classic, The Diary of a Young Girl. Approved by both the Anne Frank House Foundation in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank-Fonds in Basel, run by the Frank family, this work of literary criticism unravels the complex, fascinating story of the diary and effectively makes the case for it being a work of art from a precociously gifted writer.
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.