Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
I first read this book, as so many of us did, in my early teens. And at the time, I don't think I really appreciated just how significant a document it actually is. So I'm incredibly glad that I chose to reread this book as part of my Classics Club project.
It's always hard to review published diaries, because no matter how well-known they are, the fact remains: the author never intended them to be read by anyone other than themselves. Diaries are a place to dump the emotions you can't discuss with anyone, the thoughts you need to just get out so they're no longer floating around in your brain. Especially when you're a 14 year old girl.
So you'll find hundreds of reviewers out there complaining about how whiny and annoying this book is. Which, in some ways, I understand. Anne's a 14 year old girl. And to some extent, ALL 14 year old girls are whiny and annoying.
But I'd like to see any of those reviewers trapped in a tiny apartment with seven other people for YEARS, constantly fearing for your life, not knowing whether you'd be caught or blown up in an air raid, or starve to death if something happened to the people who were protecting you. I'd like to see those people go through what Anne Frank went through, and still retain the amount of optimism that flows through her writing. Because it really is astonishing.
It's not always an easy book to read. But it is a hugely significant one, capturing not only what life was like for Jewish people in Holland during the early stages of the war, and just how quickly things changed, but in capturing very clearly what life was like for one small group in hiding, and the lengths that people were willing to go to in order to keep them safe.
So yes, Anne was an occasionally whiny and annoying 14 year old girl. But considering that she was a 14 year old girl writing a diary? Her writing was often poignant and astonishing, and this book should remain a must read for everyone.
Have you read it? What did you think??