Friday, June 15, 2012
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
This is a collection of short stories that focus on the Jewish experience in America. The most notable essay is the title essay that references Anne Frank in a conversation between two couples that runs the gamut between Hassidic living to pot smoking and everything in between.
Englander is an adept writer who tells the story in a clear and moving arc; his stories have fleshed out characters that aid the story. My two favorite essays were "Camp Sundown" which tells the tale of an old-folks summer camp where the campers believe without a doubt that one of their own is a Nazi, and "How We Avenged the Blums" which follows a group of young boys attempting to avenge the bullying of the smallest of their crew by a neighborhood kid. The stories were enjoyable; Englander has a way of mixing black humor into these stories by which we should truly be shocked. Why on earth, you ask yourself, am I laughing at elderly people who believe in taking justice for the Holocaust on their shoulders? You feel partially guilty but then you ignore it and just keep reading.