The surviving members of Anne Frank's family are outraged by the publication of Annexed, a fictionalized retelling of the Anne Frank tale from the point of view of Peter van Pels, the teenage boy whose family hid with the Franks during the Holocaust. While Anne Frank's diary hinted at romance between the 14-year-old Frank and van Pels, Annexed takes the relationship a step further. The hot and heavy scenes stop short of outright lovemaking, but the book's publisher says author Sharon Dogar only removed a sex scene from the final version of the book. Dogar "feels they had sex," the book's publisher tells the U.K.'s Telegraph. "After all, the hormones of both were raging." Should Anne Frank's short life be fair game for fiction?
As Frank's memory fades, fiction will keep her story alive: It's understandable that Anne Frank's relatives would want to preserve the memory of the girl they knew, says Terence Blacker in Britain's Independent, but they're "fighting a battle that is already lost." When a person becomes "larger-than-life" after death, "the scope for myth-making, for finishing an unfinished story, is all the greater." As with all contemporary heroes, the memory of Anne Frank will be replaced with an "odd conflation" of who she really was, and who the world wants her to be.
"The dead are public property"
Leave Frank's story alone until it recedes further into history: It's not like Anne Frank died in a Nazi concentration camp 500 years ago, says Ceri Radford in Britain's Telegraph. There are still family members, like her 84-year-old cousin, Buddy Elias, who "remember Frank as she was, not as she is imagined to be," a 'lively, curious, lovable child," who stands as a symbol of shattered innocence. The least we can do is let Anne Frank "own her story while it is still a part of memory."
"It is too soon to rewrite the facts of Anne Frank's life"
Dogar could have left Frank alone and still told a compelling story: There's just something repulsive about making up stuff about real children who "died horrible, horrible deaths," says Helaineo at Babble's Strollerderby. Maybe this "icky" book "would have been better off not written." If author Sharon Dogar "wanted to make up a tale about two teenagers hiding from the Nazis who enjoy a brief affair," she could have simply made up the story from scratch. "That's why they call it fiction."
"Anne Frank's steamy sex annex"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Sorry, we will not all be having sex with robots in the future
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
Subscribe to the Week