Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Book Review Club (December 2018)

Welcome to the December edition of The Book Review Club, our last meeting of 2018! With all the holiday shopping, it's a good time of year to be buying books. Books make great gifts! And our reviews might just help you pick out the perfect book for someone on your list. Happy Holidays!

Adapted by Ari Folman
Illustrations by David Polonsky

The Anne Frank Foundation (founded in 1963 by Otto Frank, Anne's father) wanted to update Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl so that Anne's story would be more accessible, more relevant to young people of the 21st century. To this end, the Foundation commissioned Ari Folman to adapt the diary and David Polonsky to illustrate it. The two are co-creators of the Waltz with Bashir,  a critically-acclaimed animated film about Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Mr. Folman and Mr. Polonsky say right off the bat they aren't trying to improve on Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. And let's face it; they couldn't. In fact, I was a little trepidatious about reading the graphic version because I so, so love the book.

As it turns out, the graphic version is terrific. I read it in two sittings and bought the hardcover for one of my sisters. The graphic version captures Anne's teenage attitude, her issues with her mother, her jealousy of her "perfect" sister, her romantic interest in Peter van Daan. The graphic version captures Anne's humor and insights. And it captures the ups and downs of hiding for two years with several people in the Annex, the horrors of what was happening outside the Annex in 1942-44 Amsterdam and the fears of discovery by the Gestapo. An example of how the graphic version is updated for today's reader is a page entitled "It's always about me and my sister." Fun, right?! I'm looking forward to the animated version, which will be released next year.

To give you a sense of the exquisite illustrations, here's a somewhat blurry photo (sorry!) I took with my phone of the Characters' page.  The illustrations are truly magnificent. They're very detailed. I laughed at the illustration of the bossy Mrs. van Daan on the chamber pot.

Here's a link to a short, but lovely, trailer for Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptationclick here for trailer

And here's a synopsis of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl from Barnes and Noble: In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a 13-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building...In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period.

(Dear FCC: Bought)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Jody Feldman: MASCOT by Antony John (MG, contemporary)

Phyllis Wheeler: THE HOTEL BETWEEN by Sean Easley (fantasy)


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE WIFE by Meg Wolitzer (women's)
                                                  MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW by Waub Rice (sci fi)

Linda McLaughlin: A BRUSH WITH SHADOWS by Anna Lee Huber (historical mystery)

Margy Lutz: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN by Mikel Martin (Canadian mystery)

Patti Abbott:  NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles (historical)

Sarah Laurence: KILLING COMMENDATORE by Haruki Murakami (magical realism)


Ray Potthoff: SERGEANT STUBBY by Ann Bausum (historical)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE GIRL WITH SEVEN NAMES by Hyeonseo Lee

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. How cool! I wonder if my 12-year-old niece would like it. She's not much of a reader, but she loves graphic novels.

    I didn't get my review done. Oops. I'll post it as a non-Book Review Club review later this month.

  2. I'm going to have to read this. It's a great idea, making the story relevant to a new generation. So glad you brought it to my attention!

  3. THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK is the book that had the most impact on me then and now. This looks like an interesting version of the story.

  4. I remember that even in high school I liked the graphic version of the classics that were being published at that time. As a teacher, I've always believed in giving people things to read in the formats they enjoy. No matter what it is (to a large extent), the more you read the better. Thanks for taking the time to host our reviews. - Margy

  5. As a Jew, I have mixed feelings about an Anne Frank graphic book, although I usually am all for making famous books more accessible to reluctant readers in graphic form. The original diary was one of the most powerful and upsetting books I ever read as a child. To turn this tragic story into an amusing graphic book seems disrespectful of the dead, not just Anne, but also the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust in the most awful way imaginable. However, since the Anne Frank Foundation commissioned it, they must have good reasons and hopefully her story will reach a larger audience and decrease the recent surge in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Thanks for telling me about it and for hosting.


Comments are always welcome!