Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New Spin on a Classic Masterpiece. ANNE FRANK: THE BOOK, THE LIFE, THE AFTERLIFE by Francine Prose

Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine ProseHow many of us have, at one point in our lives, been exposed to the wonderfully heartbreaking Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank? Whether originally discovered in a classroom or read out of personal interest, millions of people have followed along as a young girl detailed her experiences hiding from the Nazi Regime. The popularity of this memoir endures more than 60 years after its original publication, and students across the country will surely encounter it for the first time this year, just as I did almost ten years ago.

These students, like many of us, will finish the diary having been changed forever and craving more information that goes beyond the two years of entries. In her book Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, Francine Prose provides a perfect supplement for teachers to incorporate into whole class use or provide to students seeking further information. Like the rest of us, Prose was thirsty for more information about Frank and her diary. Unlike many of us, she worked to find it.

Through close reading, Prose analyzes the text and marvels at how skillful a writer Frank was at such a young age; she notes the seemingly natural narrative voice, grasp on writing dialogue, and creation of such memorable characters from everyday people. While still considering it a work of art and an incredibly influential historical artifact, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife places the original text in a new category as a deliberately written piece of literature. By pointing out the fact that Anne Frank spent her last months in hiding furiously revising and editing the diary, Prose addresses what few of the diary’s readers know: this book was written in the hopes that the public would read it after the war. Students (current and former) are sure to be enthralled by this new analysis of such a timeless classic.

Another helpful supplement to Diary of a Young Girl, in addition to Prose’s text, is the recently released film adaptation by PBS, which also provided an incredibly detailed teaching guide as a resource for adoption into the classroom.

With the Frank’s original text, Prose’s groundbreaking analysis, and PBS’s impressive adaptation, a new generation of students will be moved by the story and the rest of us will gain the new insight we have been so craving.

If you would like to consider Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to require this book, please request a desk copy.

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