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Since I’ve decided to do my best to read every book on Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read in a Lifetime, I’ve now decided to also dedicate a full post to each book I finish. The first on the list is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’ll first have you know that it isn’t my intention to review the books I read from the list, per se, but rather to offer up my thoughts in a manner that may not always be critical. Now let me tell you what I thought of one of the most well-known works of any author of the 20th century.
The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne begins the book at the fairly young age of just thirteen years, but you wouldn’t know it from her writing. She easily describes each of the eight inhabitants of the Secret Annex, she describes the relationships that develop between all of them, she describes her longing for companionship during her first year in hiding, the feeling of coming to love Peter, experiencing puberty, and the great optimism that came with the Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944. She puts you there in that annex and keeps you there for the 25 months she remained. She tells you what she thinks of herself and everyone around her. She writes of wanting to publish her diary after the war has ended. She gives the reader an account of what it meant to be persecuted as a Jew in German occupied Europe during World War II.
I’m somewhat upset with myself for having waited this long to read this. I think I watched and/ or read one of the plays during high school, but it’s just not the same as reading her words. I was in tears once I was nearing the end because of the joy that had made its way into her final entries. I wanted the ending to be different this time. I wanted those eight people to make it through the war without being discovered. I wanted Anne to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. I wanted all of these things as I read about each of their deaths in the Afterword. If you have not read this wonderful work, then please read it. Though I’d never read it, I think I’ve read quotes and reviews that label this as one of the prime examples of the human condition, and yes, this is it. It is far and away the best book I’ve ever read. I’ll leave you with a quote from Anne.
“I want to go on living even after my death.”
If only you knew, Anne, if only you knew.