To break the unintentional long break between my posts, I’m finally writing about one of my favourite books – The diary of a young girl, by Anne Frank. The narration is in a diary format and is an endearing real life account of a young Jewish girl – Anne Frank, while she was in hiding during World War II. The author is Anne herself, who recounts her own experience and lessons of life through her diary (who she addresses by the name ‘Kitty’). Anne started writing her diary when she was 13 and continued to record her life up until two years, till her capture by the Nazis and her unfortunate death, later.
Ironically, I read this book when I myself was in my early teens, and hence found it a little overwhelming at the time. There were times when I used to take long breaks while reading the book, just to sit and think what a girl of almost my age had suffered, along with thousands of people (or more). In the beginning, I found the book a bit depressing, but with time and maturity, I realised the book is anything but that! It’s beautiful in terrifying ways and impossibly truthful. But what surprised me the most, and still does, is the amount of maturity, intelligence and love this little girl had for everything around her! Yes, she was a girl with her cribbing and qualms, but with dreams, hopes, love and happiness even in the situation she was in!
1. The stark truth in the writing
The writing seeps with deep knowledge and truth about her situation. Anne knows that she and her family are in grave danger and can be imprisoned (or worse) any minute. Nowhere in the book it seems that Anne is glossing over the gory or the seriousness of her situation. But, in spite of all of that, it wonders me how she manages to keep the hope and dreams in her alive, through her writing.
2. The contradictions
There are all the contradictions in this book – war and peace, love and hate, light and dark, everything and nothing, generosity and greed, aggression and diffidence. And the best part about these contradictions is, that they blend in perfectly. Each contradiction makes sense, each situation relates to the emotions evoking in Anne or her inmates and her family.
One thing this book makes you question of who you really are inside. To dig deep and see yourself clearly. It makes you face uncomfortable truths about yourself that you may or may not be ready to accept.
4. Social-historical context
The book is rich with its social and historical context. Its a great contribution to world literature that brings home the excesses of the Nazi regime. The fact that this book was not written to be published, adds to its credibility. This truthful depiction of the social circumstances during the World War II, shows the situation of the people – both Jews and other wise, during the war. The descriptions and emotions are so vivid that you can actually envisage her life through your eyes.
Though I did not want to write about the Nays, but being unbiased, I have given a brief of what is to not look forward to in the book.
1. The linking of situations
Sometimes in the book, the linking of different situations is not handled very well. Some characters and relationships are not properly understood. But, in Anne’s defence – it’s a diary, not a novel, the gaps in the middle are but obvious.
2. The abruptness of the excerpts
Yes, I know its a diary and its bound to be abrupt. But sometimes you wish the excerpt would be more detailing or less descriptive but instead ends abruptly, or at times even concentrates on aspects that may not be that detailing or relevant. (Read: Then again, its a diary. It records real life situations not fictional circumstances.)
This book-diary is surely worth reading. Specially for teenagers, and people suffering from depression – this book will help you to hope again. It makes you appreciate life even more, makes you love yourself and the people around you. But most importantly, it makes you want to feel happy and dream again!
In the end, I would like to end it off with one of Anne Frank’s quotes from her diary – “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy!”
Do read the book and share your views with me!