Ever since its first publication in 1947, Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” has inspired millions of readers around the world, transforming overnight into an instant literary classic. Despite the work’s success, many critics have argued that the contents of the diary are of more worth for their historical significance than their literary impact. In “Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife,” Francine Prose embarks on a tireless journey to prove once and for all that Frank worked on her diary much in the same way as a writer would pen a poem or a novel, incorporating edits and entire rewrites into her work. The Washington Post says that “Prose’s commentaries on the changes wrought by [Anne Frank’s revisions] are often illuminating and raise this interesting question: Is Frank’s book in fact a diary or a ‘memoir in the form of diary entries,’ an ‘epistolary autobiography’ or a ‘novel in the form of a journal’”? For readers who think they have already read everything that can possibly be said on Frank’s diary, Bookmarks Magazine comments:
At first, critics doubted that anything fresh could be added to this subject, but they soon agreed that Prose sheds new light on Anne Frank in her provocative and penetrating study. She makes a compelling case for Frank’s literary brilliance, and though she considers the diary a “masterpiece,” she candidly assesses its limitations. Prose also remains impressively impartial when sizing up the colorful figures who had a stake in Anne Frank’s diary after her death… Written with great sympathy and sensitivity, Prose challenges readers to rethink the story they thought they knew and its impact across the globe.