Friday, February 20, 2015

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Reviewed by Meygan

Before I begin my book review, I want to explain why I chose to reread this book. At the Bristol Public Library, we skim through the pages to make sure no important documents are left behind before we reshelf the books. One day, in my hand I held a copy of Anne Frank’s diary. It was a required reading when I was in school, but that was many years ago and I couldn’t remember how the book impacted my reading when I was a child. I told myself that I would eventually reread it one day. Just as I was about to shelve the book, I notice there was a small piece of paper in the front pages. It read,

Dear Reader,

Though I have never seen or met you, I suppose there is a fairly good chance that this book was imposed upon you by a school teacher. Even if you despise reading, I think you will find this book to be highly interesting, and a beautiful and rare portrait of a young girl.

Once you have completed the book, tuck a note of your own inside the pages. Tell the next reader what you thought of the book, and instruct them to do the same. Enjoy the book!

-The Doctor (Excuse my atrocious handwriting)

I didn’t want The Diary of a Young Girl to become a book that I read once and filled it away forever. So I checked it out that day and I am so glad I did.

I am going to assume that everyone knows that Anne and her family lived in a secret annex for over two years, hidden away from the Nazis during WWII. Some people may remember Anne and her family for being found and killed in the concentration camps. But what some people may not remember Anne for is living. Anne Frank was wise beyond her years. I can’t imagine being 13 years old and having to hide from the world. Puberty is difficult for a young girl anyways, but not being to surround yourself with your peers and having to put on a “mask” to please 8 other people you live with would make anyone feel like they are going insane. 

The family dynamics can be surprising. Even though Anne respected her mother, they didn’t have a close bond. She was much closer to her father and absolutely adored him, even when she could feel them drifting apart. Another part you may find fascinating is Anne’s optimism. Sure, she vents about fights between the families and how she wishes to go outside and to school again, but she remains hopeful that the war will end soon and she and her family will be free. Unfortunately, Anne died of typhus just two months prior to the end of WWII. 

As I previously mentioned, Anne was highly intelligent. She loved reading about mythology and of course, she loved to write. “Who would ever think that so much can go on in the soul of a young girl?” Anne wrote in her diary. Anne’s diary provided us fun details such as her getting to have another dinner with her family and how she oh so badly wanted to become a young woman! Readers also get to experience the moments of horror when burglars break into the building they are hiding in and the families think they have been found. Thanks to her diary, Anne proved that a lot of information takes place in the mind of a young girl. Actually, Anne’s father cut many passages out about Anne’s mother and Anne becoming very familiar with her teenage hormones and body. But the passages were later on added to the diary for publication, especially after additional pages of her diary were found. 

Anne also wrote, “I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me.” Anne did just that. Her diary has forever impacted the world and has taught us the true terror of the holocaust. Because of her diary, her voice will never die out. 

If you have already read The Diary of a Young Girl, I urge you to read it again. It is not a satisfying read. We know that Anne did not survive the concentration camps, but we still can’t help to feel hope that Anne will be recused. Even though I knew her ending, I felt like someone stabbed me in the heart when I read about Anne’s death. I am glad I read it now that I am older so I can truly appreciate her remarkable memoir. I have a different perspective when I reread this book as an adult. I believe as a child, I focused more on Anne’s tragic ending and how devastating it was that she was found. But when I reread her diary, I felt a deeper appreciation for Anne because I can remember dealing with my 13 year old feelings, and how difficult it was to be a teenage girl at times when all I wanted to do was grow up and become an adult.  

I will leave you with the most perfect words I have ever read about Anne’s diary, said by Ernst Schnable: “Her voice was preserved out of the millions that were silenced, this voice no louder than a child’s whisper… It has outlasted the shouts of the murderers and has soared above the voices of time.”

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