Written by best-selling Israeli author Judith Katzir, Dearest Anne is a stirring record of an artist’s coming-of-age during the 1970s and the story of a hidden, erotic love affair between a teenaged girl and her married teacher, Michaela.
After reading Anne Frank’s diary, young Rivi starts a series of writing notebooks that document the angst of growing up in rural Israel. The entries reveal how her crush on her literature teacher develops into a poignant and turbulent love affair that lasts for years before its scandalous end. Decades later, the grown Rivi, now a mother, wife, and established author, comes to terms with the forbidden love that shaped her life.
"I read this book with wonder and emotion. The love between Michaela and Rivi is depicted precisely and delicately. . . . It's beautiful."
"More than anything else, the book is a temple of love to the imaginary, and to literature as an option for deep and vigorous living. . . . The story succeeds in arousing interest and emotion. . . . The greatness of the novel is understood only in retrospect, after reading it and tying all the threads, events and vantage points together into one complete picture."
"[An] impassioned and intense coming-of-age. . . . Katzir's prose is evocative, at times furiously erotic, as Rivi archives her progression from insecure teenager into a self-assured woman."
"The power of unconditional love fuels Rivi's development into a confident young woman, a development Katzir telescopes nicely in the book's finale."
"There is something addictive about Judith Katzir’s writing: the ability to pour beauty and meaning into a fleeting moment, to catch it in the tangle of time and shape and polish it all in metaphoric language that is amazingly sensuous and precise."
"Judith Katzir—a true writer—has produced a novel dealing with sensitive and difficult human material. With a skilled hand she transforms it into a sensual work full of love and sensitivity that touches the inner heart."
"In Dearest Anne the author manages to get inside a fourteen-year-old girl without judging her, teaching her or setting herself above her. Nature and human nature together celebrate a new beginning. This is Judith Katzir’s best book."
"A thoughtful, mature and even heartbreaking book. . . . Ultimately, Katzir succeeds in making us mourn the passing of time in our own lives, by infusing each of her characters with the sort of wisdom that can only be gained through years of regret, a wisdom so real and palpable that it feels like we earned it through our own trials."
"Katzir portrays a passionate relationship between an adolescent girl and her married female literature teacher. . . . Readers might balk at the high volume of explicit sex appearing throughout the book. Beyond that potential hurdle are multiple literary allusions, lessons about choices, and a distinctive coming-of-age story."
"Judith Katzir['s] . . . Prose, so rich in detail and evocative images, manages to tether her unique characters to an entire country, bringing both vividly to life. . . . Katzir uses her exacting eye and an innovative form to bring this . . . unpredictable story to the page."