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Non 1001 Book Review: Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Published in: 1947
Literary Awards: Luisterboek Award 2008
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: The Diary of a Young Girl

Synopsis from Goodreads: Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: I am ashamed to say I have made it to the grand old age of “cough cough splutter” without having read this important book. I am so glad that I have corrected that mistake.

This is a heartbreaking book, not because of what Anne writes, but because we the reader already know how it will end.

Anne writes in her diary as if she were writing to a person called Kitty. This allows the reader to assume the role of Kitty, and ultimately the role of Anne’s friend and confidant. Anne really speaks to her reader. I could visualize the annex and the people in it. I could see Anne sitting as her desk writing and I could see her occasionally seething with anger at those around her and their lack of understanding.

What is so important about Anne’s diary is that is shows her, and the others in the Annex, as human beings. They are not just statistics. They are actual people. It also shows that they are not saints or heroes they are nothing, special just people like you and me. Anne can be bitchy and hurtful, she suffers with depression and rails against the restrictions put on her and her family. Yet through all the ups and downs she remains upbeat and positive because she is convinced that rescue is coming. Her optimism just about broke my heart and while I knew that rescue would never come for Anne, I kept willing the allies to get there sooner to save this family. What made it even worse was the knowledge that had they gone a few weeks longer without being betrayed, it’s possible that everyone could have survived.

Favourite Quotes: 

“I could spend hours telling you about the suffering the war has brought, but I’d only make myself more miserable. All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end. Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death”

“I’m left with one consolation, small though it may be: my fountain pen was cremated, just as I would like to be some day”

“Those violent outbursts on paper are simply expressions of anger that, in normal life, I could have worked off by locking myself in my room and stamping my foot a few times or calling mother names behind her back”

“That’s something we should never forget; while others display their heroism in battle or against the Germans, our helpers prove theirs everyday by their good spirits and affection”

“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. 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!”

“The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews!”

Who would I recommend this to: Everyone. I really believe everyone should read this book especially given the current world situation. This book helps you to take a step back and to realize that no matter what colour, race, or religious beliefs you hold, we are all the same underneath.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Diary of Anne Frank

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for writing about The Diary of Anne Frank. I read this book when I was 13, the same age as Anne when she kept her diary. This book taught me how to live. It shaped my life. I will be forever indebted to this lovely girl and her remarkable spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 21, 2016
    • I also read the book when I was 13 or 14 and it had a big impact on me too. I had the opportunity to visit the annex when I was in Amsterdam about 10 years ago and it was a very emotional experience.

      Like

      May 21, 2016
  2. Diane Zwang #

    I am sure I read this book in school but my memory is a little fuzzy. I am looking forward to re-reading with my son next year. This book is part of the 8th grade curriculum. I am familiar with the story as it has been made into countless movies which I have seen and cried through them all. I am glad you read it and shared with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 21, 2016
  3. Oh dear, I always feel heartless whenever I say this but I didn’t care for Anne Frank’s diary. I don’t know why but I was never moved. My reaction was always a shrug and an “ok.” The fact that the only other person I know who disliked this book was a mannered, annoying hipster makes me feel even more cruel.

    Maybe I’ll try reading Night by Elie Wiesel. I think I’ll like that one more but I’m not sure. Have you read Night? What did you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    May 22, 2016
    • I don’t think you need to feel heartless. Writing affects people in different ways, and readers bring different things to the experience. Speaking personally, Anne Frank’s diary (and a whole other range of holocaust literature that British school children were encouraged to read when I was at school – When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Silver Sword, I Am David, The Hiding Place) affected me because it was part of my cultural background – the version of history that says the Brits fought the Nazis to ensure freedom and to put an end to the genocide. With all of the books I mention, we were encouraged to imagine ourselves in the situation, and at the back of our imagining was the knowledge that close generations of our families had been involved in the fighting and encountered refugees. There’s also the long shadow of poor treatment of Jewish people in European history that still stretches from now. We haven’t really learned tolerance, even knowing the experiences of people like Anne Frank. BW’s final paragraph sums up why I think Anne’s diary is still important today, but I can appreciate that it might not have the same resonance for people in places where there isn’t the same shadow.

      I’m surprised that Anne’s diary isn’t on the 1001 booklist.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 22, 2016
      • I was also really surprised it didn’t make the list seen as it met most of the criteria needed maybe it was ruled out for not being a novel…

        Liked by 1 person

        May 22, 2016
      • Ah, of course. The list is mainly fiction, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

        May 22, 2016
      • Thank you — You’re right, we don’t write and read in a vacuum. Admittedly, I know other Indonesians who were moved by Anne Frank’s diary even though they lack extensive context. Some books are powerful to many, but no book is powerful to all.

        Liked by 2 people

        May 23, 2016
    • I have not read Night so can’t comment

      Liked by 1 person

      May 22, 2016
    • I agree, I don’t think you should feel heartless because you didn’t like it. For me, what was incredibly sad was that we knew the outcome so while the book itself wasn’t emotional in that it described some ordinary day-to-day things that were sad because they occurred under extraordinary experiences.

      Night is a great book and will probably have more more of an emotional impact on you because the events described are emotional. I read it in high school but found it to be a book that left a lasting impression

      Like

      May 23, 2016
  4. Tracy S #

    I found Night to be very moving. But even more so was If This is a Man by Primo Levi. Both are true experiences from survivors of the concentration camps and are very haunting.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 22, 2016
  5. Tracy S #

    I also was assigned Anne Frank at age 13, and it affected me very much as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 22, 2016
  6. If anyone gets a chance to visit the house in Amsterdam where she was in hiding, I thoroughly recommend it. It brings home how precarious her life was so gives even more meaning to her diaries

    Liked by 1 person

    May 23, 2016
    • I agree. I visited the house when I was 20 and it was very emotional

      Like

      May 25, 2016

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