Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. New York, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1967.
ISBN: 0385040199 - Hardcover edition
Translated By B.M. Mooyaart Doubleday.
Introduction by: Eleanor Roosevelt
Anne Frank is a young Jewish girl caught up in the horror of the Holocaust. Her diary documents the traumatic maturation of a young girl forced to grow up in hiding. During her confinement Anne seeks to define herself as a person, while coming to grips with what it means to be part of persecuted nation.
Anne starts her diary with the wish that she will be able to confide completely in her diary and thus derive some sort of comfort. This wish, presented at the onset of Anne’s diary , immediately pulls the reader into a personal relationship with Anne. Throughout Anne’s experience she draws closer and closer to her diary, and therefore her reader. Anne wishes to make a best friend out of her diary and we the reader genuinely want to participate in this experience.
Despite the intense relationship between reader and author, engendered by Anne, she still questions why anyone would be interested in the revelations of a young girl. She reveals that, “neither I-nor for that matter anyone else- will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year old schoolgirl” (Frank, 12). However, the events that come to shape Anne’s life are bigger than the “unbosomings of a thirteen-year old schoolgirl”. Anne’s narrative comes to embody the Jewish plight during World War II. It is through Anne’s diary that multitudes of young adults gain their first Holocaust experience. Through this experience the reader finds the human element behind World War II. Anne’s diary turns a war that often gets obscured by statistics and big events into a human narrative.
This diary is particularly compelling for young adults. In an age when no one wrote books for teens by teens Anne produced a diary that does exactly that. Despite the atrocities that frame Anne’s narrative her story is a typical teen age story. This story has all the usual teenage angst. Anne has a strained relationship with her parents and sibling. Anne is interested in boys and maintains multiple infatuations throughout her diary. Anne worries about her grades, her looks, and everything else a teenage girl could worry about. But above all, Anne is concerned with making a deeper connection with her friends that isn’t all about the “common round” (Frank, 13). As the war progresses Anne shows maturation. Anne moves from worrying only about herself and her own personal drama to making connections between what is happening and how it impacts the world at large. The Diary of a Young Girl is the original coming of age story told by a firsthand participant.
Despite the author and subject of this diary being a young teenage girl, the audience for this work extends beyond the generation gap. This diary, despite its engaging narrative, is a true story- a story that bears witness to one of the greatest cultural atrocities of our time. This book brings awareness to the world, not just a generation. Unlikely readers, such as Nelson Mandela, have found great comfort in Anne Frank’s narrative. This diary bears witness across generations and for this reason it should be included in every young adult collection around the world.
ALA Best Books for Young Adults -1996
New York Times Bestseller (Nonfiction)-1995
Waterstones Books of the Century -1997
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