Bestselling romance novelist Elin Hilderbrand has asked her publisher to delete a joke about Anne Frank from her newly released book “Golden Girl” after readers complained.
“It was meant as hyperbole but was a poor choice, that was offensive and tasteless,” Ms. Hilderbrand, a Nantucket Island native, wrote in a statement posted to her Instagram.
“Those of you who have read Summer of ’69 will realize Anne Frank was a courageous young woman whom I revere, and her story remains deeply influential in my life,” she said. “I always strive to write in good faith. ‘Golden Girl’ is a novel I wrote for my children and I want them to be proud of every word.”
“Golden Girl,” which was released last Tuesday, features a short passage in which a young Vivi is planning to stay in her friend Savannah’s attic, The Guardian reported.
“You’re suggesting I hide here all summer?” Vivi reportedly asks Savannah in the book. “‘Like … like Anne Frank?’ This makes them both laugh — but is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”
The book’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company, was flooded with complaints by readers who deemed the joke antisemitic, Slate magazine reported.
Ms. Hilderbrand initially responded to the controversy by stating she “absolutely REVERE[s] the story of Anne Frank,” and she described the line as “not a throwaway quip” but “an expression of angst from someone who felt marginalized socioeconomically,” The Guardian reported.
She later said she had asked her publisher to immediately remove the passage from digital versions and from all future printings.