Monday, January 10, 2011

Anne Frank: the Anne Frank House authorized graphic biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon

Instead of a graphic novel of The Diary of Anne Frank, this is a graphic biography of Anne and her family, in which the diary is quoted. The book was well-researched and has panels that record the historical progress of the Nazi party, World War II, and the eventual annihilation of 6 million Jews, along with millions of other victims. All of the Frank family except the father are eventually killed or die in captivity.

The drawings of the characters are carefully reproduced from existing photographs and paintings, and show little Anne being outspoken and rebellious from her childhood. While greatly loved by her family and others, her impetuousness earned her much criticism, especially when she was shut up in the Secret Annex. The Annex were the rooms she and her family hid in for 2 years, with 4 others, that were in the same building as her father’s business.

Many people helped the family, but many Dutch citizens “looked the other way” while Nazi supporters found and rounded up Jews and other undesirables for the concentration camps. The book characterizes the Nazi supporters as “Dutch Nazis”, and makes no mention of the silence of the majority of those living in the Netherlands. The book also takes the standard line of Anne being a world famous writer – without the explanation that her plight actually thrust her and her thoughts into the limelight.

Some reviewers feel that this book can stand alone, and is not simply an extension of the Diary of Anne Frank. But if you only read this, you miss the sweetness, the intense quality Anne had with those around her. You miss her ruthless sketch of the tiresome couple they hid with, her aching feelings of being so pent up, so imprisoned for two years. This biography is well- crafted and informative, but it fails to “flesh out” Anne’s story, no more than Anne herself was able to do.

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