Genre: Non-fiction, diary, history
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
In 2007 I decided to start a diary. It was going to be something to do over the summer, and to see if I could stick to writing everyday. Back then, I wasn’t much of a reader but by 2011 I had got back into reading and had read a few books. I had read book 1 and 2 in Meg Cabot’s Airhead series and loved it…then I found out there was a third book, and I decided that I’d go to W. H. Smiths and buy Runaway but also The Diary of a Young Girl. I’s always heard of Anne Frank, and the one thing I knew about her was that she kept a diary, and that this diary was historically significant because of her situation when she wrote it. I had to have it.
So, on October 10, 2011 I bought this book. My preconceptions were that it was going to talk a lot about the war, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case. Yes, it is mentioned, that’s inevitable, but the diary itself doesn’t necessarily revolve around the war. She’s a young girl in a difficult and horrible situation, and her diary is where she goes to get away from it all, to escape into and get on paper all that is in her head.
The diary begins on her birthday, because that’s when she got it. It was a birthday present. When she writes, she refers to the diary as ‘you’ as though it is a friend she is writing to.
“To enhance the image of this long-awaited friend in my imagination, I don’t want to jot down facts in this diary the way most people would do, but I want the diary to be my friend, and I’m going to call this friend Kitty.”
Her style of writing is entertaining, and it surprised me how funny she is! I’m referring to her in the present tense because that’s how I see her when I read her diary. She is present, she is writing, she is thinking and musing. When you’re reading it, you want to know all about her, all that she thinks and feels. It is sad at moments when you remember her fate, but it is that which lead to this diary being available to read, and to give generations of people an insight into what life was like when she wrote.
I read half of the diary, then I left it for a while. I wasn’t so used to reading a lot of books back then, and there must have been a dip in my interest, because I didn’t feel like continuing with it just yet. But once I returned, the second half was even better than the first! I became gripped the way you do with fiction books. There was a distinct storyline, and things I wanted to know. I raced through the second half, and the book secured its place as one of my favourites.
This is one of those books which you just have to read at some point in your life. My edition is the 60th anniversary edition and also the definitive edition edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler. It also includes various photographs in the middle of the book, along with a foreword and afterword. This is the edition I would recommend reading if you haven’t already.
“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.”
“All I think about when I’m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other. In any case, that’s just how things are, and unfortunately they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary.”
If you’ve read this and you want to read more Anne Frank related books, then I recommend the following:
- The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank – Willy Lindwer
- The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank – Ellen Feldman (I haven’t read this one, but it relates to a part of the diary that really engaged me).
Link to the book on Goodreads: