Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
This is more of a discussion than a review, because in my opinion, this piece deserves nothing less than a 5 star rating even if someone doesn’t finish it. You open the work to the first page and it deserves 5 stars. This may seem like a crazy statement, but I shall explain.
I’m also refusing to call this a novel or a book. This is not a fictional piece in which the author creates characters and a story filled with suspense, romance, or intrigue. This may not even be considered a non-fictional novel in which the author covers a time in history or a person of interest. This is a diary. It was a private diary (later on she mentioned her wish to publish a book on her time in the Annexe), which in the beginning, gave a young girl a place to vent her frustrations and to speak with a friend (named Kitty).
So this review isn’t to talk about story, sentence structure or content. It’s a 13-year-old’s diary. It includes what was bothersome or exciting to Anne Frank at the time. People may be disappointed because it doesn’t explicitly talk about the war, but we have to remember, Anne Frank and those living with her in the Annexe, could not see the war. Their struggle was in living in a confined space for two years with 7 other people. There was minimal, at times zero, interaction with the outside world. Many times they were not allowed to make any noise or open a blind to look outside. They were also only allowed to flush the toilet during certain periods of the day. They ate rotten food because it was all they could get. These are the struggles that The Diary of a Young Girl speaks about. It is about the struggle that they were forced into because of the persecution and treatment of Jews during the world war.
If anything, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, should be an inspiration for many. Anne, throughout her time hiding in the Annexe, was quite positive. She would find the fun in things. Yes, there were moments where she, and others, were quite harsh regarding the actions and behaviours of their fellow roommates, but who wouldn’t be. Try to imagine being stuck in the same area with 7 other people, with no room for escape; you can’t leave the building and go outside for some fresh air and quiet time, you can’t vent and slam a door. Being quiet is a must; if you are loud, there is a chance of arrest or death. Saying that in any other scenario could be considered an exaggeration, but for Anne Frank; her family; and the others in hiding, this was a life and death situation.
And this is where the work is difficult to read. It’s not a heavy read by any means; it certainly doesn’t have topics being discussed that are cringe-worthy or hard to stomach. The difficulty in reading this diary, is knowing what happens next. Anne is pretty explicit in her dreams. Near the end of the diary she is 15; she has her whole life ahead of her and she’s very thorough in enumerating her goals when she is finally free of the Annexe. It’s sad knowing that she’ll never realize those dreams; it is sad knowing that she’ll never know freedom again. It is extremely heartbreaking knowing that she probably died frightened and in a place unimaginably worse than the Annexe. It is after you finish reading her diary that the truth hits you hard. She writes beautifully for her age, she is wise beyond her years, and her dreams were something that I think she could have achieved. Her diary ends suddenly, not because it was a place in which she chose to stop, but because what followed was the gruesome reality of that world war.
I walk away from Anne Frank’s diary awed, inspired and heartbroken. Diary of a Young Girl, is a harsh reminder as to what happens when hate overcomes everything. It is a testament to the need to eradicate persecution and discrimination. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is a hard lessen; one that must be learned.
Sidenote: I even feel strange giving this work a rating. Just like I said that it should automatically be given a 5-star rating, it’s also a piece that I feel is above the rating system. It deserves every respect.