Saturday, June 09, 2007

'Tales from the Secret Annex'

by Anne Frank

Translated by Susan Massotty
Edited by Gerrold Van Der Stroom and Susan Massotty
Bantam Books, 2003 (portions published previously in other versions)
Paperback, 192 p.

(Book #22 for 2007)
Hiding from the Nazis in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building in Amsterdam, a thirteen-year-old girl named Anne Frank became a writer. The now famous diary of her private life and thoughts reveals only part of Anne’s story, however. This book rounds out the portrait of this remarkable and talented young author.
Newly translated, complete, and restored to the original order in which Anne herself wrote them in her notebook, Tales from the Secret Annex is a collection of Anne Frank’s lesser-known writings: short stories, fables, personal reminiscences, and an unfinished novel, Cady’s Life.
Having recently read her diary I was curious to read this short collection of her lesser-known writings. She mentions some of these stories in her diary so it was interesting to read them here. Some of the stories were simply re-tellings of events that are included in the Definitive Edition of her Diary. Many of the others were strongly influenced by the people and daily life in the annex, as well as her life before going into hiding, and it’s perhaps blasphemous to say so but it got a bit repetitious after awhile, especially her recurring nature theme. Still, many of the stories were charming and imaginative and considering how old she was when she wrote them, she had the potential to become a talented writer. It’s such a shame she never had the chance.


  1. I have never heard of this one. I may have to see if I can find it. I actually am not surprised to hear that you thought she was repetitious after awhile, especially given her age at the time she was writing. Hers is such a sad story.

  2. I'd never heard of this one, thanks for filling me in.

  3. How interesting! I didn't know anything about this book. I'd very much like to read it.

  4. Literary Feline,
    Even though it was repetitious sometimes, I'm glad I read it. It gives a little more insight into Anne.

    No problem. :)

    Seems no one's heard of it. I just found it by accident when I was looking stuff up after reading her diary and was curious.

  5. I've never heard of this, either. I was very impressed with her diary. Anne Frank was a sharp, insightful young writer. I'm certain she would have written some brilliant things, had she lived.

  6. Nancy,
    It really is a shame she never got the chance. She certainly was older than her years.

  7. Yet another one here who has never heard of this book! I haven't read her diary for over 10 years; I should dig it out some time.

  8. siew,
    I'm not sure why I'd never got around to reading her diary before this year. Glad I finally did though.

  9. We visited Anne Frank's house when we were in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, it was sad overall but it's when I reached her room that the tears began to fall.

    I haven't read her stories, maybe I'll borrow this book from the library to read a few...if it's repetitive, it's unlikely I will read them all.

    Thanks for letting us know about this book, Nat.

  10. Lotus,
    Us too. It was moving but I really wish I'd read the diary before we'd visited. Maybe I'll get back to Amsterdam someday.

  11. I also did not know this one existed. I love her diary. This one sounds worth trying.

  12. Nymeth,
    I think anyone who loves her diary will appreciate getting to know Anne and her writing a little bit more.


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