Anne Frank’s diary is considered one of the most honest, and saddening, accounts of World War Two. It is a text that is routinely handed out in school, when the students are forced to learn about the harrowing history of Nazi Germany. Strangely enough, my school missed this memo. Instead, our take on World War Two was reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. That fact alone should explain a great deal about my reading tastes.

Everyone knows the plot of The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne, along with her Jewish family, are forced into hiding in Amsterdam after the Nazis announce that all Jews will be taken into concentration camps. Set in ‘the hidden annexe’ above a factory, Anne and her family, alongside a second family and a dentist, stay hidden for over two years. During this time, Anne deals with all the emotions and struggles that any teenager goes through – including anger, alienation, lust and angst – as well as the terrifying reality that her and her family could be discovered any day.

The Diary of a Young Girl is both harrowing and deeply moving. Reading Anne’s accounts, I couldn’t help but feel despair every time she dreamt of the future or imagined what would happen if they were caught. And needless to say, it is the abrupt ending to her diary, combined with the afterword, that is the saddest part of all. To learn that Anne’s father, Otto, believed that there was a chance that she was still alive, and then to have the strength to continue her legacy after he learns the truth is both awe-inspiring and deeply sad.

While there are other aspects of Anne’s diary that I found interesting – particularly their hopes that England would defeat Germany – it was the personal and innocent perspective of war that I think has made it into such a well-known book. Though there have been countless movies, memoirs, textbooks and plays written about World War Two, reading it as its being told through the eyes of a young girl is an experience all of itself.

Have you read The Diary of a Young Girl? What did you think? Let me know!

the diary of a young girl by anne frank

The Diary of a Young Girl – (image taken from http://www.scholastic.com)

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