Monday, November 17, 2008

My Name is Anne

Title: My Name is Anne, She Said, Anne Frank
Author: Jacqueline van Maarsen
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 176
Date Finished: 10 Oct 2008
My Rating: 4 Stars

While Anne Frank figures prominently in both the title and cover of this book she occupies a rather small portion of the story. This book is more about Jacqueline van Maarsen, her family and her experiences during the war, including her brief but close friendship with Anne Frank.
In her diary Anne called Jacqueline her best friend and wrote two letters to her while in hiding that she was never able to send. Jacqueline and Anne met while attending the Jewish High school in Amsterdam. Shy, reserved Jacqueline and outgoing Anne became best friends almost immediately. Jacqueline liked Anne's friendly manner and her assertiveness, even if it did sometimes border on obsessiveness.
Their friendship came to an abrupt end when Anne and her family disappeared. The Franks had been circulating a rumor that they were going to Switzerland and Jacqueline assumed that is where they were. It was not until Otto Frank showed up at her doorstep after the war that Jacqueline learned the truth.
The memoir does give a unique look at Anne and her life previous to her time spent in hiding but what I enjoyed most about this book was Jacqueline's story. Jacqueline's French mother had converted to Judaism when she was married and at Jacqueline's father's insistence the family was registered as a part of the Jewish community in Amsterdam. When Jacqueline's mother began to hear the rumors of genocide she managed to convince German officials to remove their names from the list of Jews living in Amsterdam and saved the family from deportation.
Jacqueline spent the first half of the war living as a Jew and experiencing all the limitations and fears that came with being a Jew during the Nazi occupation. During the second half of the war she lived life as a Non-Jew and through her experiences we gain a unique perspective of what life was like during the war and the effect the war had on Jacqueline, her friends and her family.
An interesting war time memoir, with or with out the story of Anne Frank.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

That does sound like a good one! I'll look out for it.