SHADOW LIFE: A Portrait of Anne Frank and Her Family

Barry Denenberg, Author . Scholastic $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-439-41678-8

The "imagin[ed] and re-creat[ed]" diary of Margot Frank makes up the middle third of this uniquely constructed book which aims—and largely succeeds—at filling out the details of the Franks' family life that Anne's famous diary alone does not provide. The first third recounts Anne's early childhood, leading up to the family's decision to leave Frankfurt for Amsterdam and, ultimately, to go into hiding in the annex of Otto Frank's business. The middle, invented diary portion is a bold, well-executed experiment, despite occasional clanks here and there ("It's almost as if she truly expects that someday millions of people will be reading her diary," writes Margot of her sister).The third section takes readers beyond Anne's diary and into the horror of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, where Anne, Margot and their mother's lives end. In this section, Denenberg (Voices from Vietnam ) skillfully weaves excerpts from Holocaust survivors' oral histories to present what is known about the Frank women's final months. Excellent source notes include a chronology and a bibliographical essay. This is the rare book that will work both for student report writers and anyone interested in human history. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/21/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
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