26 Sep 2010

BEST LEFT WELL ALONE?

A 13-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy enter a concealed space and remain there for two years. They do not like each other. She is precocious and attention-seeking. He is sullen and grieves for his lost girlfriend, to whose memory he miserably masturbates. But as time – marked only by the changes in the patch of sky and single treetop visible from an attic window – passes them by, they fall in love. Sexual desire uncoils in this dim hiding place. Unfortunately, the couple have no privacy to explore, let alone consummate, their relationship because they are living in very close quarters with her parents and her sister, his parents, and a querulous dentist. In these circumstances, every murmur, fart, endearment, is overheard; every glance, move, touch is witnessed. They cannot escape this purgatory because actual hell awaits them in the outside world.

Sounds interesting? Yes, I thought so until I read further and discovered that this was a new book ANNEXED, by Sharon Dogar - a brave retelling of Anne Frank's story according to Mal Peet in her article for the Guardian (click HERE to view.)

Now I'm usually a fairly opened minded person, not usually the type to totally condemn a book/a film etc without having watched/read it for myself and I'm not going to start now BUT at the same time I believe that certain books should be left well alone.

The harrowing, true life story of a young Jewish girl who, along with family and friends, is forced to go into hiding in an attic in Nazi occupied Amsterdam, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, I believe should be read by every school child. Therefore to say that I am disappointed that some author has seen fit to retell (exploit?) the story is to put it mildly but as I said I'm not one for condemning things out of hand which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma - to read Annexed or not?

What do you think? Do you intend to read the book? Should certain stories be left well alone? It's over to you.

25 comments:

BookQuoter said...

It was enough that I did not like that summary, let alone read that it is that book. NEVER will be my answer.

Sanand said...

@Petty - thanks so much for the thoughtful query. Alls well at my end. Travel and work make it difficult for me to blog often but I will try. Thanks again for the thought.

kavita said...

'Diary Of Anne Frank 'has a special place in my heart.Thanks for the review - i know for sure that i will never buy it/read it.

Karen said...

Interesting dilemma. While I was reading the description I wanted to read it and was thinking it sounded a lot like The Diary of Anne Frank but a different experience. I don't know how I feel about taking what was a true and horrifying story and turning it into something about sexual awakening. (if that's what it's about) Seems that you could still use the concept without outright copying the original and then twisting it. I don't like how they are doing this with all the classics either. Turning them into paranormals while keeping the original (dead) authors name on the cover as if they approved of it.

Kelly said...

I figured out halfway through your entry where it was leading... to the Diary of Anne Frank.

Some things just don't need re-telling. Didn't she do a good enough job in her own diary??

No... I would have no desire to read it. That's not a (true) story I need to hear from another point of view.

Alexia561 said...

Interesting question. The Diary of Anne Frank was based on a real girl's diary during a horrific time period in our history. Yes, the diary was edited by her father, but it is still a classic worth reading. While I don't normally judge a book before reading it for myself, I have no plans to read Annexed.

SG said...

These books should be left alone. Same goes for classic movies also.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I think certain stories should be well left alone, definitely. There's no replacing a diary like that.

Willa said...

I agree with those who thinks the diary should be left alone. It is definitely a strong enough document no to need further speculation. Drop Annexed and read the real diary instead is my opinion. Thanks for writing about it though, it is an interesting dilemma.

brandileigh2003 said...

I read it and appreciated it for what it was.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Melissa Gill said...

The blurb sounded interesting right up to the point that I realized it was a re-telling of The Diary of Anne Frank. A retelling of that story, by someone who wasn't there and can only speculate holds no interest for me. There are some things that are just too sacred to exploit.

Boonie S said...

It’s difficult to define what informs and what is simple exploitation, and often the two walk hand in hand anyway. I generally oppose censorship, but I do believe also that the line has to be drawn somewhere – contradictory I know.

I don’t think that Anne Frank's story should be retold by a detached third party, and I shudder at the thought that it might be rewritten.
I would probably avoid reading it in the same way that the only way that the man in the street can discourage many things is by abstaining from them.

marinela said...

Petty, thanks for the review.

NRIGirl said...

Hi Petty. I don't think you should read Annexed - I didn't even like the introduction that you gave on it.

A BIG "Yes"; to Diary of Anne Frank.

Based on the comments above, I guess some readers didn't get your question clearly.

OR is it me?!

By the way, I have a personal request to make - about a book review - which is still in the works.

Can I please email you? My email address is: starlh@hotmail.com

Thank you,

~ NRIGirl

GMR said...

Oh dear! I have to agree with you, some things SHOULD be left alone and Anne Frank's story is one of them. I never imagined her tale any other way than how it was portrayed for so many odd years now and to inflict this spin on the story however true or false just feels wrong. Will I read it? Not planning on it, but if I do it would be out of the sheer morbid curiosity to see just what has been done to the story we all (well, most) know.

Vince said...

A first I thought you were correct when I read this a few days ago, but something stopped me from commenting. Firstly, The Diary is not Anne Franks headstone. And the fact that adults decide to serve it up to teens 'for their own good', seems a bit suspect to me. But in doing so they, the adults, are making it into a headstone. Kids and adults for that matter need to read about that life as something lived and if that takes putting the fixation of all teens about sex into the mix, then so be it. The only requirement I would have is that it be extremely well written.

Heather said...

As I read the description of the book, it twigged something and I thought it reminded me of Anne Frank's diary. I probably won't read this new version, not because I think the original should remain the standard, but rather because I have only so much reading time and I read the story first in grade school and don't feel i need or want to read it again.

Perhaps more young people will read her story with this retelling? I guess book sales over time will tell us whether the reading public accepts/embraces/rejects this re-working.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I would not read the book Annexed. Thanks for the post!

iamjenai said...

Well I've read the Diary of Anne Frank when i was in highschool (for a school paper) and now i don't remember it all. I think I might re-read it again. As for the re-telling? Why? I don't see any reason why would someone re-tell that story?

Jenners said...

Hmmmm...this is tough one. I'm not one to judge before reading something for myself, but it takes a lot of guts to touch something like Anne Frank. And the whole "sex" angle doesn't totally sit will ... it didn't occur to me that it was going to be about Anne Frank at first. It sounded to salacious.

Suko said...

I agree, Petty, Leave Ann Frank's diary alone. Her story, which is history, does not need to be retold.

Jennifer McLean said...

Because it's a true story I think an author shouldn't pilfer a classic. Rewriting Shakespear is one thing to keep up with the times but the horrors of what Anne when through are true, not an interesting story about falling in love in a difficult "position". Bad, bad on the new author. Think up you're own story or go live a life you can exploit in a book.
OOh, I'm so accusatory. :o) Who knew, Tracy!
Best,
Jenn

purplume said...

Yikes. I guess the dead don't have any legal rights? Or care what happens? It seems like it ought to be a crime to rewrite someone's story, since it's non-fiction.
It seems like a chaep shot to take advantage of the books fame.
Would the story as rewritten be any good on it's own?
I won't be finding out by reading it.

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