What we have here is not fiction, not facts, but “faction,” derived from almost everything written about and by Anne Frank. The only source missing is Margot Frank, who wrote nothing we know of except for one letter to an American pen pal. To rectify this, the author has become Margot, imagining her in the fullness of what might be her personality. It is as if she, too, kept a diary. In fact, that is what this book is all about — the diary of the older sister— Margot. If that sounds confusing, it is for good reason, although the book is not without some merit. The non-fiction section consists of the facts that surround World War II and the Holocaust, the Franks’ passage from Germany to Holland and the ensuing tragic events. In addition to Margot’s fictional diary, the author concludes with details from other sources about Anne and Margot’s final days. He supplies an extensive Frank chronology; a bibliographical essay that explains all the sources, including many books, videos and films; plus a bibliography and an index. Is the title misleading? Yes, and what’s the point? Margot did not write a diary. Margot did not necessarily have the talent that Anne did, but which Denenberg has given to her. Is that why the author didn’t put “Margot” in the title? Nevertheless, the book does paint a valid picture of this disastrously trying time for Jews and Denenberg certainly can write, even Margot’s diary. For ages 11 – 15.
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.