I was hooked from the minute I picked up Francine Prose’s Anne Frank: The Book, The Life and The Afterlife (HarperCollins, $24.99). I knew the story of Anne’s short life, though I hadn’t read The Diary of a Young Girl. I was intrigued by Prose’s assertion that the Diary be considered as literature, with a capital L, and its author as a writer, not just a victim. This book, which has touched millions in its half century, chronicles the experience of eight people hiding in a few small rooms because they were Jews in Nazi-occupied Holland. Prose tells three stories here. One concerns Anne’s revisions; she wrote and redrafted as many as ten pages a day. She wanted her account to live on. Prose also tells the remarkable story of how the journal survived; tossed aside as worthless papers while the obvious valuables were looted, the diary lay forgotten until Otto Frank returned. Then there’s the story of the diary’s U.S. publication. Rejected by most major publishers, it languished unwanted until a young editor named Judith Jones read it. She couldn’t put it down. That was enough to persuade Doubleday to publish it.
Politics and Prose Bookstore 202-364-1919 Hours and Locations