Anne Frank: The Biography by Melissa Müller is interesting… however, I’m already very cautious of it. In her introduction, she claims in her own words to have a sort of fascinated obsession with Anne Frank and her world — this is understandable, as I’m currently having a bout of Anne Frank mania right now too. However, there are just some things that I can’t take in a biographical, scholarly, or historian stance on though.
As a biography, she doesn’t use any footnotes, how is one to know she didn’t simply make up some bits of “facts” just to establish the book? Everyone is dead, it’s hard to gain any certainty, that will always be her greatest defense to any accusation of false, misleading, or inaccuracies in her book… who’s around to state otherwise?
Right away, I had a problem with some of the things about her book (which by the way, I still found as a very interesting read) — unlike Miep’s memoir, which had copyright references from established Anne Frank foundations of photos, Müller’s book had none of that, it only had captions. Who’s to say what those captions states is really true? — for example, a supposed picture of Otto Frank with his class in the Lessing Gymnasium… the picture of Otto is so far away you can’t even tell who the young man looks like or is. Yet, on a Google image search, there were no hits for that supposed picture of Otto Frank, which I found highly suspicious.
I am as weary about this novel as another novel by some Jewish American woman trying to cash in on some sort of relevance by claiming she had some sort of adoptive father figure in Otto Frank through a few supposed letter writings. I right away saw her agenda and motive. The first publishing of this book was called Love, Otto: The Legacy of Anne Frank, but has since been retitled to Dear Cara: Letters From Otto Frank … I’m thinking many people were not happy with this Cara Wilson who was trying to make some sort of assertion that she had any kind of relationship with the Frank family at all… hence the title change.
I digress!… in Müller’s novel, not only is there no footnotes like a legit biography should have, but also there’s no references, only an index in the back of the book for a particular subject in her own book. Now, although I’m not finished with the book yet, another suspicious reserve of mine is that a lot of her info seems to be from some woman named Gertrud Naumann… someone I’ve never heard of, but supposedly was very closed to the Frank family… says who? The only info about her is from Wikipedia, which anyone can edit freely and without accuracy.
I particularly didn’t like the dialogue Müller gave… how can she write what was said of people or make up conversations with no authentication? Who claims any of those dialogues existed at all? Especially the more intimate ones about how one of the Frank members were feeling, again… says who?
I do not recommend this book as something of a scholarly or academic reference. Instead, for a more accurate biography, I recommend The Biography of Anne Frank: Roses From the Earth, by Carol Ann Lee — my recommendation is based on the fact that this biography was used as a reference multiple times by the editors of the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation in their academic publishing of Anne’s writings… and is also the institution that has ownership of her writings, as her father had willed it to them. This in itself makes Carol Ann Lee’s biography reputable as reliable, given the institution’s multiple usage of it as a referring source.