Monday, May 27, 2013

336 (2013 #20). Anne Frank: The Biography

by Melissa Müller

Like most women my age, I read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl as a young teenager, and was quite inspired by it.  Doubtless it has a lot to do with why I enjoy writing so much today.  I kept a journal for a number of years that evolved into one much like Anne's - minus the life-threatening situation she was in, of course.

Since then, I've done a little bit of reading here and there about Anne and her life before and after the two years in the "Secret Annex."  This book by Melissa Müller, originally written in German and translated by Rita and Robert Kimber, is an update to Müller's 1998 book of the same name.  It contains 30% more material than the previous version, including correspondence by Anne's father, Otto Frank, with family in the United States as he attempted to emigrate with his family; and more information about the betrayal of the Secret Annex and the fate of the people there.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book, to me, was the revelation about five previously-unpublished pages of the diary in 1998, when Müller first published this book.  They were given to her by a gentleman who had received them from Otto before Otto's death.  Also, the diary I read growing up was Otto's edited  "c-version" of the diary, a compilation of Anne's own original "a-version" (not all of which could be found), and the re-write (the "b-version") she started on May 20, 1944, only 10 weeks before the betrayal, where she re-wrote everything through March 29 of that year.  Now I am very eager to get my hands on a copy of the revised critical edition (864 pages, published in 2003), which lays out these three versions side-by-side to make them easy to compare.  Apparently, though, even this edition has some edits, with 24 words (probably embarrassing to someone still alive) cut from the May 6, 1944 entry, and an entry that should be dated October 30, 1943, placed at November 7, 1942 instead.

But I digress.  Obviously, Melissa Müller's updated biography of Anne Frank has sparked an interest in learning more, as all good biography should do.  The book includes family trees, a number of photographs, an "epilogue" detailing what happened to various people (and the diary and the Secret Annex) after World War II, an afterword by Miep Gies, one of the helpers of those in hiding who preserved Anne's diary, and extensive end notes.

© Amanda Pape - 2013

[I received this advance reader's edition through the LibraryThing Early Reviwers program.  It will be passed on to someone else to enjoy.]

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