‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank

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.

Literature and film focusing on historical events, namely the World Wars, haven’t been a regular occurrence in my life. Reading ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ andThe Book Thief’ are the books that convey a strong message of the good and evil of those times through relationships; or upcoming films such as Dunkirk, with its extravagant cinematography and surely raw storytelling, will hopefully be named as accurate reflections. Yet the majority of these titles, specifically the former, are fictional. 

The Diary of a Young Girl’ is a non-fiction book I’ve wanted to read for its raw perspective, as a thirteen-year old tells first-hand the rising of WWII and drawing upon the lives effected by Adolf Hitler’s ruling.

An insight to an emotional, stark story of one person, but also speaking for the lives of millions.

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Anne Frank writes a diary over the last years of her life; she, along with her family, flee their home in Amsterdam and go into hiding. Over two years, until they are found by the Gestapo, she re-counts the days of hunger and boredom, the suffering of confined spaces, and the constant threat of discovery and death. It is an exceptional example of exposing the horrors of war and power and, agreeably, the testament of strength and human spirit.

Every so often, reminders of how normal Frank’s life is crops up, such as talking about school friends, or how much she enjoys reading, or listing off the birthday presents she receives. That in itself made me realise how devastating her story is, to further in severity when she, along with her family, are forced to hide out in an office building.

Told in such a mature, honest way that it almost makes you forget how young she is, as she details the days where she must share bath water, and ration the slim pickings of food.

I get frightened myself when I think of close friends who are now at the mercy of the cruellest monsters ever to stalk the earth.

And all because they’re Jews.

We see the quieter snapshots through Frank’s meaningful gaze, finding moments of distraction and happiness which, considering the circumstances, bewildered me; that anyone could during one of the most horrific times. In her experiences, the lives of her family shine in.

Her father, for example, writes a poem for her birthday, and it somewhat shows the spirit he too possesses. Which, although seems a touching note, is outweighed by the suggestively dismissive nature of her parents. Fleeting moments of harmony, drifting into descriptions of Frank and her mother not feeling like a mother and daughter should; another sad element of this tragic story, which made me question how she could cope like she did.

I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.

It is an inevitable expectation of what comes of Anne and her family, but no less heartbreaking, unleashing the reality and absorbing the magnitude of the situation.

‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ is an unexpectedly warm and meaningful book, shown through Frank’s insightful words and the black and white photos, but undoubtably a wrenching look into devastation and the affected life of a girl named Anne.

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