Summary and book reviews of Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank (A Hatred for Tulips) by Richard Lourie

Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank (A Hatred for Tulips)

by Richard Lourie

Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank (A Hatred for Tulips)
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2007, 192 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2008, 192 pages

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Book Summary

A gripping fictionalized account of the man who betrayed Anne Frank will not soon be forgotten. Richard Lourie takes us into not only a person’s mind, a time, and a place, but into the treacherous currents of history that sweep lives away.

Published in hardcover in the USA as A Hatred For Tulips, but renamed Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank in paperback.

“People who don’t have secrets imagine them as dark and hidden. It’s just the opposite. Secrets are bright. They light you up. Like the bare lightbulb left on in a cell day and night, they give you no rest.”

So thinks Joop, the narrator of this brief and bitter tale, whose secret is like no other. He has kept that secret for more than sixty years, but now his brother---whom he has not seen since the end of the war---has suddenly shown up at his door.

Having grown up in North America with only the vaguest memories of World War II, Joop’s brother has returned to Amsterdam to find out what his childhood in Holland had been like. But what he discovers is much more than he bargained for---he is startled and dismayed to learn of his own role in the betrayal of Anne Frank.

Transporting readers through the agonizing Nazi takeover of World War II, Joop recounts his role as a boy desiring to feed his starving family. He figures out a way to provide for them, but in doing so, he sets in motion a chain of events that will horrify the entire world.

Just as he did in the internationally acclaimed The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin, here Richard Lourie takes us into not only a person’s mind, a time, and a place, but into the treacherous currents of history that sweep lives away. This gripping fictionalized account of the man who betrayed Anne Frank will not soon be forgotten.

Note: Published in hardcover in the USA as A Hatred For Tulips, but renamed Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank in paperback.

Chapter One

“I am your brother,” said the stranger at the door.

At first I thought he was one of those evangelicals who go from house to house peddling salvation, but then I looked more closely at his face and saw my mother’s eyes looking back at me.

“Come in,” I said.

We didn’t fall into each other’s arms or even shake hands, one too much, the other too little. We hadn’t seen each other for sixty years. What did it mean that we were brothers?

I held the door open for him and as I watched him walk past in profile, I thought: Willem must be sixty-five now.

But he didn’t look it. A face that hadn’t seen much. A gray-haired boy. An American.

“I don’t have much to offer you,” I said. “Beer. Some ham, cheese, bread.”

“Sounds good.”

“I live alone. I don’t keep much in the house.”

“You never married?” he asked, sounding concerned.

“No.”

I didn’t ask him ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Is Joop responsible for Anne Frank's death? Partially? Fully? Not at all?
  2. Does he feel enough remorse for the suffering he helped cause?
  3. Is Joop's brother Willem partially responsible for Anne Frank's death? Joop points out that Willem did eat the extra food they got for betraying Anne Frank which might have saved him from death during the terrible last winter of the war.
  4. Should Joop have done anything possible to keep his father alive?
  5. How do you understand the dream Joop has when he is ill with diphtheria? Is it mere delirium? Or does it have meaning? Or is it a mix of meaning and delirium?
  6. How does the quote from George Orwell help you understand the book?
  7. What is the role of food in this novel?
  8. ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Elena Lappin

...[A]ll the plausibility and cool detachment of a well-researched and carefully edited documentary. It is skillfully done, with minimal, well-placed strokes, written in blunt yet elegant prose.

Kirkus Reviews

A haunting novel that doesn't fully resolve the tensions it dramatizes.

Publishers Weekly

Lourie's rendering of Anne Frank's fictional betrayer as a callous, misguided youth is stark and deftly written.

Booklist - Hazel Rochman

[A]fast, riveting novel...far better than the usual Anne Frank spin-offs, this story is driven by the details of daily life among desperate, ordinary people under the Nazi occupation.

Library Journal - Marika Zemke

Though slim, this novel speaks volumes and is destined to be a best seller and a book club favorite. Highly recommended

Reader Reviews

Andrew

A Hatred for Tulips: Thumbs Up!
If you are interested in WW2 and you enjoy interesting books this is the one for you. From the get go the book grabs you and takes you on a journey before, during, and after WW2. There isn't one boring moment in this book. I would highly suggest this...   Read More

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