Title: “Meeting” Anne Frank: An Anthology
Author: Tim Whittome
Genre: Holocaust Biographies / Children’s Historical Biography
Reviewed by: Tony Espinoza
Pacific Book Review
Some of the greatest philosophers, thinkers and geniuses to ever grace our world have not only gone unrecognized in their own time, but have been the tragic victim of horrific events, and yet have still seen the hope and brightest moments of humanity. None embody this notion more than the young teen girl whose writings and memories inspired so many out of a time of sorrow and terror, Anne Frank. She once said, “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
In the acclaimed and recently released anthology “Meeting” Anne Frank, a collection of authors come together to share twenty stories filled with art and personal anecdotes of how they have connected with the accomplished and late writer, Anne Frank, over the years since her passing. While none knew her personally, the authors share how they came to know Anne either through having met or known others from Anne’s life before the occupation, during her time in hiding, or during her last months, or from the teachings and reading of her own diary and the subsequent biographies that have come afterwards. Through historical context, personal stories and extensive research, the authors have put together an emotional and thought-provoking look into the person and writer that was Anne Frank.
A truly heartfelt and engaging book, this anthology carries with it the importance and emotion that Anne Frank’s story and life has always brought readers around the world. While the authors do an incredible job of including memorable art and photographs, along with history and research which feels like a biography, the authors take an interesting and unique turn and not only showcase their first time coming across Anne’s story but how her life and her work has impacted them. The book also includes some great interviews with some of the actresses who have portrayed Anne’s life and some insightful looks into her life’s biggest and most defining moments, not just the events that she has come to be known for. The writing is insightful and thoughtful, bringing a personal aspect to the author’s own experiences and feelings towards the famed historical figure’s impact on the world.
This is the perfect read for those that enjoy historical and world-based non-fiction reads, as well as stories that read like personal essays, historical non-fiction reads that delve into the life of important figures and in particular WWII. As a history buff myself, I was fascinated to be able to not only get a glimpse into Anne’s life and those that knew her, but to see how her impact on history has affected the lives of these twenty authors as well.
A memorable, engaging and detailed non-fiction read, “Meeting” Anne Frank is the perfect anthology that deals with history and historical figure writer Anne Frank. The photographs, the personal stories which touch on the author’s lives after reading and learning of Anne’s work, and the detailed research really and truly make this a memorable and important read, and stands out from the typical biographies many have read on this remarkable young woman.
“Meeting” Anne Frank: An Anthology
Midwest Book Review
Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan’s Literary Services
Tim Whittome, Editor
978-1-6641-4556-6 $19.99 Paper/$35.99 Hardcover
“Meeting” Anne Frank: An Anthology belongs in any Holocaust or children’s history collection where Anne Frank’s diary is of interest. It is comprised of twenty essays by those who never actually met the girl, but found her influence on their lives to be unusually compelling and lasting.
Although over seventy years have passed since Anne and her sister died in a concentration camp, the authors of these pieces have all felt her lasting impact on their lives. They explore many striking facets of this impact, which will prove engrossing and sometimes compellingly controversial.
One such example of the latter lies in this thought by Tim Whittome: “If the life of Jesus Christ for Christians across the world derives much of its unique power and meaning from his miraculous transcendence of death and subsequent appearance to his disciples, Anne Frank’s life derives almost all of its transcendent power and meaning from the fact that she died in the state-sponsored grip of one of the cruelest of all ideological and genocidal dreams—namely, that the world would be infinitely better off without there being any Jews left to envy or despise. Did Anne have to die at Bergen-Belsen and—as far as we know—not rise again and did Jesus have to die on a cross and then rise again in accordance with Christian faith for their current martyred reputations to exist today? On one level, it might seem presumptuous to link these two historical figures and fellow Jews, but on another, we need to bear in mind that Anne’s diary has become one of the most well-read and translated books in the world after the Bible.”
Each writer formed a personal relationship with the deceased Anne through her writings. Some knew her father or others connected with her, as well. The impact of Anne’s vivid influence is striking, as in Anne Talvaz’s reflection: “Anne did indeed tell of sad events. Perhaps my previous Holocaust reading had hardened me to the cruel facts she related—I do not know. But what stood out was the wit, the needle-sharp portraits, the flawless dialogue, and the sense of comic timing. The description of the potato peelers’ thoughts, the cat peeing in the attic, the strawberry preserving, the German soldier shooting his officer for treason all had me laughing out loud. And then there was the sheer wizardry of her use of words.”
Why does Anne’s story continue to resonate with future generations where so many similar accounts have been consigned to the annals of history? By capturing twenty lives changed by her words and their legacy, this anthology succeeds in showing how a writer’s experiences and eye for detail can translate to life-changing impacts generations later.
Readers of Anne Frank and Holocaust history will of course be the likely major audience for this book, but let it also serve as an inspiration for writers of all ages who question the lasting power of words to reach out and transform others, as well as teenagers learning about Anne and the Holocaust.
It’s a potent lesson, indeed.
“Meeting” Anne Frank: An Anthology
Mehak Burza, BA, MA
Head, Global Holocaust and Religious Studies at Global Center for Religious Research PhD Candidate, Holocaust Studies, Jamia University, New Delhi, India
Thesis title: “Literary Representations of the Holocaust: An Assessment”
The diary of Anne Frank has never ceased to impress audiences across the globe. So much so, that Anne Frank in herself has become a cult figure, one synonymous with the Holocaust. The diary has often come under the scrutiny of the Holocaust deniers, who are critical of the usage of the ink by Anne, to counteract which, several books have been published that have authenticated the existence of Anne and have validated her stationery items. Even after more than seven decades, the diary continues to be read and analysed through myriad prisms, whether as a teenage diary, as a bildungsroman or through a psychological framework.
With numerous texts about or on Anne Frank, Tim Whittome’s “Meeting” Anne Frank comes as a breath of fresh air in the “Anneverse.” Rather than immersing the pages solely in the historical “accurateness” and facts, the book (anthology) is a perfect blend of factual data along with a metaphysical aesthetic appeal. It is a compilation of short narratives by selected authors/people who describe their “meeting” with Anne Frank. The meetings, however, are indirect, as none of the authors has personally “met” Anne. The only common thread through which these authors have “met” Anne is through her diary. It is this common thread that binds all the narratives and runs as a common thematic focus throughout the anthology.
The foreword is written by Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl, the son of Bep, the youngest helper of the Frank family during their time in hiding. It was Joop’s grandfather, Johan Voskuijl who built the revolving bookcase masterpiece. Talking about the “meetings,” Joop regards each one as “sincere, loyal and genuine” (xviii).
Tim Whittome has done a masterful job in the preface by placing the isolation of people in the Covid-19 lockdown alongside Anne’s isolation in the Secret Annex, an analogy that immediately places the diary’s relatability quotient even in the twenty-first century. As each author unfolds his/her metaphysical journey with Anne, we get to know their different “meetings” with the young girl. Some have met her through the school curriculum, some through curiosity, others through their love concerning Dutch things; yet others through documentaries about the Second World War. Though their “meetings” may be different, Anne’s ‘kindred spirit’ has resonated with them ever since their first read of her diary. In addition to these authors, Tim has also recorded the responses of two performers who played the role of Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank that was staged in 2014 and 2019 for the Theatre Burlington and the Seattle Children’s Theatre respectively.
The afterword of the anthology is written by Cara Wilson-Granat, an author who has written extensively on Anne Frank. Regarding her as a global hope icon, Cara points out that “there are legions of “Anne Franks” this very minute worldwide” (256) expressing themselves through their writings with Anne Frank’s diary as their touchstone. With this anthology, Tim has indeed lent a new dimension to view Anne Frank through the metaphysical “meetings,” and thus has, in a way, fulfilled Anne’s desire to go on living.
As the Holocaust survivors continue to recede in number and the denial tendency looms over the memory of the Holocaust, Tim’s book gains momentous importance in recollecting the memory surrounding Anne Frank from a new-fangled perspective. With this book as the standpoint, coming generations will continue “meeting” Anne Frank, whose hope and good spirit will be cherished across continents. Tim is absolutely correct in his analysis about Anne having the ‘last laugh’ over the Nazis even after her death through the survival of her diary. A microcosm of the Anneverse, Tim’s anthology is a vital addition to the Anne Frank legacy!
“Meeting” Anne Frank: An Anthology
by Tim Whittome, ed.
book review by Kate Robinson
“The Anne Frank who appears in this anthology will come across as someone with whom you might want to share a lavish picnic…”
Twenty authors share their heartfelt essays of connection with Anne Frank, the young diarist who, for many people, is their first connection with the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust. Compiled by Anne’s father from her diary, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, as it is known in English, has become a familiar classic. Anne, who aspired to be a journalist, received a diary on her thirteenth birthday on June 12, 1942, and almost immediately began to record her thoughts and the details of her family’s and other residents’ daily lives in “the annex,” as they called the three-story apartment over her father’s business where they hid during 1942-1944.
While none of the writers included in this anthology knew Anne personally, her compelling diary entries touched their hearts deeply. Some who memorialize Anne in their essays connected with her family and friends in recent decades as they sought to learn more about the enigmatic Jewish girl who lived in hiding during Amsterdam’s German occupation. Others have journeyed with Anne only in their hearts and through her words that continue to resonate over seventy-five years later.
Anne Frank’s life and writings have inspired an astonishing array of books, films, plays, articles, and commentary in musical scores and artwork. This anthology will be a welcome addition to the body of work about Anne’s short life and her enduring legacy. The editor has taken great care in his choice of authors and has contributed a moving and comprehensive preface, addressing readers through the lens of having prepared and published the anthology during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. An extensive bibliography and index follow the anthology essays, making the volume worthy of inclusion in libraries and archives.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
Book Review Mini-Critique
Below you will find ratings (scale of 1-5) with descriptions for the major parts of your book followed by your Readers’ Favorite review. Although these are general ratings we hope they will give you an insight into how others may view the different components of your book.
These are the opinions of your reviewer, and although your reviewer is not an expert literary critic or professional editor, they are at the very least, an avid reader of books just like yours.
Title: “Meeting” Anne Frank
Subtitle: An Anthology
Author: Tim Whittome
Genre: Young Adult – Non-Fiction
The appearance of a book can make a significant impact on the experience of a reader, whose enjoyment is often enhanced by an enticing cover, an intriguing table of contents, interesting chapter headings, and when possible, eye-catching illustrations.
The characters of a book should be well defined with strengths and flaws, and while they do not have to be likable, the reader does have to be able to form a connection with them. The tone should be consistent, the theme should be clear, and the plot should be original or told from a unique perspective. For informative books — those without plot and characters–this rating refers primarily to your concept and how well you presented it.
Development refers to how effectively you told your story or discussed your topic. The dialogue should be realistic, the descriptions should be vivid, and the material should be concise and coherent. Organization is also a key factor, especially for informative books — those without plot and characters. The order in which you tell your story or explain your topic and how smoothly it flows can have a huge impact on the reader’s understanding and enjoyment of the material.
Formatting is the single most overlooked area by authors. The way in which you describe scenes, display dialogue, and shift point of view can make or break your story. In addition, excessive grammatical errors and typos can give your book an amateurish feel and even put off readers completely.
Marketability refers to how effectively you wrote your book for your target audience. Authors may include content that is above or below the understanding of their target reader, or include concepts, opinions or language that can accidentally confuse or alienate some readers. Although by its nature this rating is very subjective, a very low rating here and poor reviews may indicate an issue with your book in this area.
Overall Opinion: 5
The overall starred rating takes into account all these elements and describes the overall reading experience of your reviewer. This is 5 the official Readers’ Favorite review rating for your book.
“Meeting” Anne Frank
Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
When I was first introduced to Anne Frank, I was about the same age as she was when she first entered the annex to stay hidden with her family from the Nazis. The timing was perfect for me to feel the full impact of what she was going through. My age helped me relate more intimately to the horrors and fears she faced. I remember distinctly being disturbed and distraught when the Nazis invaded the annex and took young Anne and her family away, and even more distraught when I learned that Anne didn’t survive the horrors of the concentration camp. This compelling attachment to one girl, whose diary touched so many worldwide, was not mine alone. Many people, like me, can honestly say that Anne Frank and her story told in her diary have affected who we are today.
Anne Frank has touched me again while reading Tim Whittome’s “Meeting” Anne Frank: An Anthology. With a concise biography of Anne and the Frank family, coupled with details on those who shared the famous hidden annex, authors worldwide have written their own personal journey with Anne by their side, in their hearts and in their souls. As Frederica Pannocchia, founder of the Italian charity A Bridge for Anne Frank, writes: “The story of Anne Frank literally changed my life. She opened a new world to me – a world that was maybe already inside my heart, but that needed to be enriched and encouraged by the words and courage of this wonderful and special young girl.”
These stories, poems, and essays are a sensitive and intense look at how one girl has influenced, affected, and, yes, even changed the lives of so many. This collection is a fascinating read and will help us all as we face yet another hidden evil that threatens our lives and forces us to isolate for reasons of self-preservation. We may not have to face the evils of concentration camps and gas chambers as Anne and her family did, but we have to face the fear of unrelenting and troublesome times. A fascinating look at one girl’s life and how she managed to live her dream beyond her tragic death through the simple words in her personal diary.
Review ‘’Meeting’’ Anne Frank: An Anthology Edited by Tim Whittome.
My first reaction to this book was to the haunting picture of Anne Frank on the front cover. It was the slim, sad face of a child who we all know suffered an appalling fate at the hands of her Nazi persecutors.
However, this well presented and thoroughly researched book is not just a sad account of one family’s trauma against overwhelming odds, it is a collection of intimate and knowledgeable accounts from people who either knew the Frank family or who have been moved to express their thoughts about the events of the second world war which resulted in the Holocaust.
Tim Whittome offers the reader a selection of personal essays from writers and artists who demonstrate the importance of keeping Anne’s story alive. The contributors to this study ‘meet’ Anne on a deeply personal level but her story stands as a microcosm of the fate of thousands of families who hid, suffered and died, during the horrors of the German invasion of Europe in the second world war.
We tend to forget that it was the entire Frank family and their friends who lived in secret for 25 months under awful conditions, whilst dreading the fateful knock at the door. Anne’s sister Margot and her mother both died in concentration camps with only their father, Otto, during the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russians in January 1945. His efforts to retrieve and publish his daughter’s diary enable us to read her words today.
This book also reminded me that Anne was a teenager under tremendous stress; which habitually caused tension and argument. Anne’s writings were often the result of these outbursts and, whilst they are a priceless insight into the lives of the eight people in hiding, they are also the thoughts and feelings of a semi-child who had both remarkable insight and the moods and imagination of a growing teenager unnaturally imprisoned with seven others. It invites the reader to think about how they would have reacted under the same circumstances.
The book offers some wonderful photographs and an extensive bibliography with Internet links. It is a must for readers who appreciate the importance of facing our history and of keeping a fitting memorial to those who we didn’t know, but whose story must never be forgotten.
Catherine Rayner. M.A.
(Author and retired lecturer.)