Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review: The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank

Ellen Feldman penned an interesting take on history in The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank. What if Peter Van Pels had not only survived hiding in the Annex with the Frank family, but had survived life in the concentration camp too? What would he have done? Feldman creates a life for Peter in America, where he sheds his Jewish identity, begins a family and does not talk about his experiences during the war in an effort to lead a normal life. Peter becomes a successful business man, a loving husband and father.

One night Peter's wife is customarily reading before bed, but Peter's past confronts him as he catches a glimpse of the cover page to have young Anne Frank looking back at him. So shocked that his past has found him, Peter loses his voice. He is haunted by the rising popularity of Anne Frank's Diary, the discussions, the movie, the Broadway play. What ensues is a fascinating account of how one man accepts who himself and his past.

I loved this book, I loved the premise of "what if". Feldman created a believable character in Peter. One of the things I found really interesting was the way The Diary of Anne Frank rose in popularity and consumed American culture.

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