Title: The boy who loved Anne Frank
Author: Ellen Feldman
Publisher: W. W.Norton & Co.,
ISBN - 039 3059448
By S.G. HAQUE
There's a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill. These are the words of a thirteen-year-old girl, who met a tragic end during the very infamous Nazis war. The boy who loved Anne Frank is a historical fiction authored by Ms. ELLEN FELDMAN. This is based on the diary of a young girl, Anne Frank, who had lived hiding the Nazis in Amsterdam with a group. It is her diary, which gave birth to plays, novels, movies and newspaper features. The excerpts of her diary entitled HET€H TERHUIS (The Secret annex) were published in 1947. Eleaner Roosevelt wrote the preface of the book, when it was first published in USA in 1952. This diary has already been published in over 50 languages and registered a record sale of 31 million copies.
When the author of the boy who loved Anne Frank visited Frank house in Amsterdam, a tourist guide told her that, all the persons, who took shelter at 263, Prinzengrach, Amsterdam died except Peter Van Pels, the boy who loved Anne. Feldman got the idea of writing this fiction. She read the diary of Anne, in which Anne recorded her conversation with the Peter. Once Peter told her that, if he survived the war, he would like to go a place where he was not known, even to pretend he was not Jewish. Anne wrote on February 16, 1944, “he said life would have been easier if he’d been Christian or could become one after the war.”
However, author discovered later that Peter died on May 5th, 1945, three days before the end of war in Mauthausen at the age of 19. While Anne had died shortly before, of typhus at Bergen Belsen at the age of 15.But, Feldman had decided to produce her imagination of what might have happened, if Peter got his wish of migrating to the unknown place, where no body knew about him and his religion.
A unique and very interesting novel, the boy who loved Anne is a masterpiece work, which tells not only about Anne, who was full of life and got a tragic end, but also about the state of desperation, that Jews experienced, as well.
In this story, after liberation, the tortured and scared, Peter manages to arrive New York, burying his past. He reinvents himself there, as war victim Christian from Amsterdam. He plunges into housing construction business and gets everything needed to live a happy life. Nobody knows, his real identity, not even his wife Madeleine, ironically a beautiful Jewish lady, who mothered his three children. But all of a sudden, his life turns up side down, when he finds Madeleine reading the newly published "the diary of a young girl". He became speechless. He does everything to hide the copy of this diary. The diary gains popularity and it turns in to plays and movies. Even then, he does not show the courage of revealing the truth. But, he loses his confidence and breaks down, when he comes to know about disrespect shown to his father in the diary. Ideologically conflicted and emotionally broken down Peter tells the truth to the people. But no body except his wife believes him, not even Anne’s father. His relatives in Europe failed to recognize him. The "What if the boy in hiding with Anne Frank survived and reinvented himself after the war...?" story of Feldman is a well researched historical fiction. Ellen Feldman portrays a post-war life for Peter had he lived and kept his promise to Anne that if liberated. “The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank is an appealing and inventive novel. In spite of being tortured and subjected to death, Anne wrote in her diary “I still believe, in spite of every thing, that people are good at heart.”