The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"... keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and what I could be, if... there weren't other people living in the world" is the lyrical ending to an engrossing account of teenaged Jewish girl, living in hiding, during World War II.
The book is surprisingly engaging. Anne's voice is distinct of her era, with idioms such as "get all het up", and frequent use of the word "darling" as a pet name for someone. Her emotions appear to be very truthful, and there is a blushingly honest recollection of her desire for 'something unknown' and wishing she could have a girlfriend or boyfriend to love. The story starts out sweetly enough, as a birthday present, in which she makes her diary her confidant. She is a faithful writer about the news of the war, as she hears it, and this makes for a very interesting component of the book. After the middle, the book kind of veers about, her teenaged angst and emotions over her developing but uncertain crush on Peter, a boy who is also in hiding with her family, and we get to see the inner workings of the teenaged girl's mind: does he love me? Do I love him? What is love? Will I love someone else one day?
Then it ends abruptly.
The Afterword is also extremely interesting. It fills in missing details such as the German invasion of Holland and actually sheds light on the origin of WWII, which stems from the Treaty of Versaille from WWI. I knew this prior to the book, but I thought, what a great way to truly enlighten anyone about the connection between those two wars.
Although very dated - in language and some ideas - Anne's struggle within, about herself becoming respected within her family, and the universality of the awkward and sometimes painful path toward adulthood may be an astonishingly insightful read for young people about her same age. The details, the history and the honesty in her account will draw sympathetic appreciation from readers of almost any age.
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