Today is the 46th anniversary of Roe V. Wade.
It should be a day of celebration. Instead, we are reminded that a woman’s right to control her own body and her own life is a concept that is not exactly universally understood.
While some states (including my home state of New York), have legally affirmed that women are perfectly capable of making decision in regards to their health and their future, other lawmakers in other states believe that they, not the female citizens of their state, have the right to control a woman’s health and future.
The way I see it, it comes down to the fact that for most of human history, women have been seen as less than men. They had no control over the bodies, the health or their lives. This idea that a woman is perfectly able to decide if and/or when to have a child, to take control of her own destiny is an idea that is relatively new to human beings. When an idea is new, it is often considered to be radical, dangerous or just plain weird.
The good thing is that times are changing. Slowly but surely, women and men are waking up. A woman’s right to choose is essential for her future and no lawmaker, male or female, has the right to take that away from her.
Among the 1.5 million children that were killed in the Holocaust, Anne Frank is one of the most famous. Her diary, published after the war has been read by millions of readers over the years. But what if Anne survived?
This is the premise of the new book, Annelies: A Novel, by David R. Gillham. The book starts off just after the end of the war. Anne has survived and made her way back to her father, Otto Frank. Out of the eight people who hid for two years in the annex, they are the only survivors. Though she looks like the same Anne, the horrors she experienced have profoundly affected her psyche and outlook on the world. This creates conflict with her father, who is doing everything he can to return to normal life.
Will Anne be able to find the emotional freedom and security that she once took for granted and more importantly, will her relationship with her father heal?
The reviews on goodreads are mixed. As someone who is familiar with the diary and the person that Anne Frank was, I had to remind myself that this is a work of fiction. This not a non-fiction book. It’s essentially a what-if narrative, using what is known about Anne and those around her to tell a new story. In my opinion, Mr. Gillham should be given some slack and be allowed to use creative license while drawing on documented facts about his subject.
Do I recommend it? Yes.