ANNE FRANK AND ME by Cherie Bennet


Age Range: 11 - 16
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In this example of history- and literature-lite, teens are given a rather heavy-handed lesson about the evils of the Holocaust. Nicole Burns is a typical 16-year-old who undergoes a life-changing experience after a riot breaks out at the local museum where her class has gone to see an "Anne Frank in the World" exhibit. Nicole is knocked unconscious and wakes up to find herself in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942, now part of a Jewish family and therefore subject to the increasingly Draconian laws against Jews. While in hiding, Nicole and her family are betrayed by a close friend and Nicole ends up on one of the cattle cars traveling east to the concentration camps. On the crowded train, she meets someone who seems eerily familiar, a girl whom she soon recognizes as Anne Frank. Memories stir in Nicole and details about Anne's final years—details that she remembers from her 21st-century life—rush into her mind. Nicole ends up in the gas chamber where, on the point of death, she finds herself back in 21st-century America soon becoming convinced that her experiences were real. What Nicole can remember from one era to another is often confusing and inconsistent. Sometimes French Nicole remembers the future, as when Anne Frank makes her appearance, but other times she seems not to know what the outcome of the Holocaust (and therefore her probable fate) will be. Although admirable in its intent to make the Holocaust relevant to today's adolescents, the story is overly obvious, pounding the reader over the head with its message. It is difficult to imagine this on stage (its roots are in the theater) because the dialogue is so trite and forced. But there may be an audience for it among reluctant teen readers who can relate to these airheads. For a much better time-travel novel involving the Holocaust, stick with Jane Yolen’s The Devil's Arithmetic. (timeline) (Fiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23329-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2001


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