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Diary of a Young Girl

August 23, 2016

DiaryBy Anne Frank

Published 1947

Synopsis: Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, received a diary for her 13th birthday in June 1942. Less than a month later, her family went into hiding in order to evade capture by the Nazis. They lived with another Jewish family in the “Secret Annex” which was a collection of rooms in the back of her father’s office building. The families were able to live in safety there for over two years. During that time, Anne wrote in her diary regularly, recording facts about the war and what it was like to live hidden from society. They were apprehended in August 1944 and were separated and sent away to various concentration camps. Anne died of typhus while in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945. The camp was liberated in April. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only member of either family to survive. He was devoted to having Anne’s diary published so that their story would live on.

Review: You can’t write a review about a person’s diary. So I’ll just say why I think everyone should read this wonderful book.  Anne states a number of times that she knows she can be completely candid in her diary because no one would ever read it. How wrong she was! But how wonderful it is to have such an authentic, honest, forthright account of Anne’s innermost thoughts during one of the most traumatic times in human history. Given the circumstances in which this was written, I was expecting writing filled with despair, anger, and fear. But instead, I was riveted right from the start by this bold, precocious, funny young girl. She writes not only about her struggles, but also about everyday occurrences in her daily life, many of which are quite ordinary and at times even humorous. She also makes insightful observances about her family and the other people in hiding with them. I found it remarkable that even through this tremendous trial, she still had many of the usual thoughts and emotions of a typical teenager. She writes about friends, boys she likes, fashion and etiquette, and her hopes and dreams for the future. She also comments astutely about politics, religion, and society in ways that shows she was definitely smart, observant, and quite knowledgeable about the world around her. This was a fascinating book, completely engaging from start to finish.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!”

“My writing’s all mixed up, I’m jumping from one thing to another, and sometimes I seriously doubt whether anyone will ever be interested in this drivel.”

“I look upon our life in hiding as an interesting adventure, full of danger and romance, and every privation as an amusing addition to my diary. I’ve made up my mind to lead a different life from other girls, and not to become an ordinary housewife later on. What I’m experiencing here is a good beginning to an interesting life, and that’s the reason—the only reason—why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.”

“Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy. Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives you true satisfaction.”

“People who are religious should be glad, since not everyone is blessed with the ability to believe in a higher order. You don’t even have to live in fear of eternal punishment; the concepts of purgatory, heaven and hell are difficult for many people to accept, yet religion itself, any religion, keeps a person on the right path. Not the fear of God, but upholding your own sense of honor and obeying your own conscience.”

And my favorite of all…

It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

Rating: 5 Boots and then some

Recommendation: Everyone should read this. You will be richer for it.

From → Book Treks

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