There are lots of Anne Frank books out there but I love this one because it examines Anne as a writer. I reread her diary last summer and wove reflections on Anne into my work-in-progress. Here is a quote from my character which I may as well share now since the whole Anne Frank theme is unlikely to last through my revisions.
As far as I’m concerned Anne Frank is the quintessential writer. Her simple diary is laced with all the elements of story. Character, setting, plot. It has conflict, self-exploration, and humor.
Now, I learn from Prose's book, that Anne was being somewhat intentional about making her writing publishable. Not at first, of course. When she received the diary at age 13 she put her uncensored thoughts and emotions on the page. But later, after the families in the Secret Annex heard a radio broadcast that discussed the immense societal value diaries would have after the war, she began to dream of being published. And the others in the Annex dreamed about this with her.
Since Anne had plenty of time on her hands she turned to writing for meaning. As she dreamed of publication she began to fill in pages she'd left blank in her diary. This meant reconstructing scenes that she'd missed earlier. (Prose points out that the writing in those spots is more mature.) In addition, Anne actually revised well over a hundred pages of her diary, adding details where she originally had generalities, choosing stronger words, and dropping cliches.
In the awful moments that followed her capture, friends found and safeguarded Anne's checkered bound diary, two other notebooks, and the loose leaf pages of revisions. After the war, Otto Frank made the decision to publish Anne's work. He decided which passages would be included and those that would be left out, omitting some sexually themed material and pages that reflected poorly on Mrs. Frank and also on his marriage.
This is what writers and editors do. We make decisions about which themes, scenes, and individual words are essential to the story. And which ones our audience is ready for. Who knows; we might even get it wrong.
When the book is published others decide whether it is worthy of their attention. Sometimes the reader abandons a story 20 pages in. At times a parent knows the child isn't ready for the material inside. And sometimes librarians decide not to place certain books on library shelves. And of course, sometimes an angry individual makes a fuss about a particular title.
Anne Frank is one of the most taught books in America but it has also been banned from schools for sexual content and tragic themes. Over the years more and more of the material censored by Otto Frank has made its way into editions of the book.
The truth is that the world is filled with kids whose lives are more horrible than anything many authors can dream up to put into a book. Those kids deserve to find characters who help them survive. Anne Frank does this.