Romance author asks for Anne Frank moment to be cut from novel

Romance author asks publisher to remove ‘offensive and tasteless’ joke about character ‘hiding in an attic all summer like Anne Frank’ from her novel after readers accuse her of anti-Semitism

  • Romance author Elin Hilderbrand has asked publisher to remove reference
  • Social media users had suggested her comments were ‘casual antisemitism’
  • Elin initially said the line ‘wasn’t a throwaway quip’ but ‘an expression of angst’ 
  • But has since apologised and has now asked her publisher to remove reference

Bestselling romance author Elin Hilderbrand has asked her publisher to remove a moment in which her character compares hiding in an attic to being ‘like Anne Frank’ after readers slammed the passage as ‘offensive’ and ‘tasteless.’ 

Elin, whose books are generally set around Nantucket Island where she lives, published her new novel Golden Girl earlier this year.

One passage within the book reads: “’You’re suggesting I hide here all summer?” Vivi asks. ‘Like … like Anne Frank?” This makes them both laugh – but is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?’

Readers slammed the moment as ‘casual antisemitism’ on Instagram, with one person writing: ‘As a Jewish woman, one who lost 18 members of her family in the holocaust I’m disgusted in you as a publisher that you allowed that line to be published. It’s inexcusable.’

Bestselling romance author Elin Hilderbrand has asked her publisher to remove a moment in which her character compares hiding in an attic to being ‘like Anne Frank’ after readers slammed the passage as ‘offensive’ and ‘tasteless’

Meanwhile others called it ‘offensive’ and ‘tasteless’, with one writing: ‘I’m failing to see the humor in an Anne Frank joke…. really???’

Another commented: ‘Anne Frank was literally a child hiding for her life wtf is wrong with ya’ll.’

One said: ‘It’s 2021, I don’t see how you would ever let a Holocaust joke make it through the editing process! It’s disgusting and I would never read a book by her.’

A fifth wrote: ‘Who in the world would write and Anne Frank joke and then who would let them keep it in the book?’ 

Elin, whose books are generally set around Nantucket Island where she lives, published her new novel Golden Girl earlier this year

After being bombarded with criticism from readers, Elin posted a statement to Instagram saying she had asked for the passage to be removed from future printings 

Another said: ‘Anne Frank jokes? A child who couldn’t leave an attic for years and was murdered by Nazis for no other reason than being Jewish. This is what you write jokes about? 

‘How did you ever think this was appropriate and how did an editor ever let it through? She was a child. And 6 million people were slaughtered alongside her. I’m gobsmacked in every way with the insensitivity.’

Elin, who was praised by the New York Post as ‘the queen regent of the easy-breezy summer read’, initially responded to the complaints online.

In response to one comment, she said: ‘If you read my novel SUMMER OF ’69, you know that I absolutely REVERE the story of Anne Frank. 

Readers slammed the moment as ‘casual antisemitism’ on Instagram , with one person suggesting the passage was ‘disgusting’ 

‘The line was not a throwaway quip. It was an expression of angst from someone who felt marginalized socioeconomically. But nonetheless if I offended you and/or anyone else, I owe you a huge apology.’ 

She later posted a formal apology on Instagram, writing: ‘In a flashback scene in Golden Girl, p144, my main character Vivi compares herself to Anne Frank. I want to wholeheartedly apologize for this. 

‘It was meant as hyperbole but was a poor choice, that was offensive and tasteless.’

She continued: ‘I have asked my publisher to remove the passage from digital versions of the book immediately and from all future printings.’ 

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