what can i say about this book that has not already been said a million times over? the diary kept by anne frank while her family was in hiding during world war ii has been a bestseller for over 50 years. it is read the world over by children and adults alike, and it is one of those works that is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
i don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
i first read the diary of a young girl when i was in middle / high school and slowly realizing my obsession with history – and with world war ii in particular – and it captivated me. i was nearly the same age as anne was when her family went into hiding, and i couldn’t help but compare our lives. we were similar in so many ways – crushing on boys, fighting with our mother, avoiding our schoolwork – but we also had one glaring difference — while i was able to roam around as i pleased, eat what i liked, and enjoy boundless freedoms, anne and her family were living in a secret apartment and wondering every day when they would be discovered and sent to a concentration camp. i couldn’t – and still can’t – imagine what that must have been like, so i continue to read anne’s words to give me a glimpse into her world.
the best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and god. because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that god wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. as long as this exists, and it certainly always will, i know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. and i firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
i wanted to revisit anne’s diary to see if and how my perception of it changed as an adult. when i was a teenager, i focused more on anne’s rants about school and the fighting between her mother and mrs van daan. as an adult, i skimmed through those and paid more attention to her entries discussing the fear and paranoia she felt having to tip-toe around and live in near-silence for over two years. but even with those differences, one thing about this book will never change: the first-hand account it gives us of how a family managed to evade the nazis and live in secret for twenty-five months.
…in the twilight beside an open window you can say more to each other than in brilliant sunshine.
one thing that struck me this time around that i never really thought of before was the bravery of the dutch friends who helped the families living in the secret annexe. with all of the danger and destruction surrounding them, these people risked their lives to save others, to get their food and give them gifts on birthdays, and that amount of courage is truly remarkable.
they have pulled us through up till now and we hope they will bring us safely to dry land … they put on the brightest possible faces, bring flowers and presents for birthdays and bank holidays, are always ready to help and do all they can. that is something we must never forget; although others may show heroism in the war or against the germans, our helpers display heroism in their cheerfulness and affection.
i still have trouble wrapping my head around the horrors of the holocaust, and to be honest i hope it is something i am never able to understand. having a diary like anne’s to give us the perspective of the war and the terror and the destruction from the viewpoint of a teenage girl is priceless, and i hope that’s something i always remember.
my goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 // average rating is 4.07
crossing off the popsugar reading list: a book written by someone under 30.
currently reading: i know why the caged bird sings, by maya angelou. another re-read from my school days, and one i can’t wait to explore further.
also, i just found out this week that the foundation that holds the copyright for the book is looking to add anne’s father otto as a co-author to extend the copyright for another 35 years. this should be an interesting story to keep an eye on.
her voice was preserved…out of the millions that were silenced, this voice no louder than a child’s whisper … it has outlasted the shouts of the murderers and has soared above the voices of time — ernst schnabel
have you ever read the diary of a young girl? what kind of impact did it have on you?