A sex scene for Anne Frank?
Sharon Dogar, a British author known for her novels aimed at teenagers, has reimagined the Anne Frank story to include romance with Peter van Pels, and sex. Annexed: The Incredible Story of the Boy Who Loved Anne Frank is told through Peter's diary entries and covers the period in the annex as well as his experience in the concentration camps, which she reportedly told The Sunday Times was the most important part of her book. Important as it may be, an Anne Frank sex scene will undoubtedly be the focus of attention for the novel's release.
Buddy Elias, Anne Frank’s first cousin who was close with her father, read the book and is not happy. "Anne was not the child she is in this book," he said. "I also do not think that their terrible destiny should be used to invent some fictitious story." He also claims that Peter's personality is also misrepresented in Dogar's version. In the Telegraph article, Charlie Sheppard, editorial director of Andersen Press, the publisher, is quoted saying that Dogar felt like they had sex, and that it was edited out of the published diaries.
At Jezebel, Sadie Stein wonders if this reimagining is in poor taste, calling it "the Anne Frank sex scene you haven't been waiting for." She writes:
It's fiction, and Dogar can make up anything she likes. The taste level may be arguable - so far it's only out in the UK, and I have not yet read it - but my main thought was, why? Anne Frank's diary is a genuine and beautiful piece of writing purely because of its authenticity. Much of its power comes from the very uneventfulness of their limited existences, and I don't know why you'd want to disregard that. Dogar is a sensitive writer, and her Falling and Waves are good novels - but not short on the sensuality. I'm not guessing this'll do any damage to Frank's legacy, but it could open the floodgates for a bizarre subgenre.
Reimaginings -- whether they be feminist re-interpretations of bible stories or fan fiction -- can be a useful way to process and learn from existing stories. They can also be gratifying in that they let you change the story to make things happen the way you think they should have happened, or the way you wish they happened. It can useful in making older stories relatable to modern audiences. (Could modern teens relate to Anne better if she were sexually active?) Whether it's a good idea to mess around with tragic and sensitive stories like Anne Frank's, though, is a difficult question. What do you think?