ningerbil (ningerbil) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 19- The Diary of Anne Frank

19. The Diary of Anne Frank. This is actually not just the diary, but includes biographies, background, photos, maps and other details- totaling more than 700 pages. The diary part included Anne Frank's initial writings, her own revisions, and the best-known German translation. It was neat seeing the differences among the three versions, even if it was a bit confusing at times. What can you say about a journal that has been read by millions? Something that has touched so many people? Anne Frank was a somewhat ordinary girl (albeit with a considerable talent for writing, which improved as she matured) in extraordinarily horrifying circumstances. My experience with her story beforehand was limited to seeing a movie, reading a play script in high school and seeing two staged versions based on an updated (and much improved) version of that first script. Of course, nothing beats reading the actual source material. I found myself a bit shocked at the liberties taken, although I'm not unsympathetic. It's not easy cramming more than two years into two or so hours. One thing I had always wondered about is what they would have done if the plumbing went out- eight people living with one bathroom would be tricky enough. Compromised plumbing did, indeed, happen on a couple occasions. It was fascinating to watch Anne's writing style, her attitudes and reflections- many quite profound- mature as the diaries went on. It's also impossible to read this book without a tinge of sorrow, since you know the final outcome of the Annex residents. You always have to wonder "what if...?" What if they could have remained hidden even just three more weeks? What would have happened to the families after the liberation? Would we know them as well as we do now? I can see why this is often assigned in school- and it should be. Yes, there are some "controversial" subjects, such as talk about sex and menstruation. But Anne's voice is a voice many preteens and teens can relate to. Certainly, we are not at war and don't have to live in hiding as she did. But while she does discuss in her diaries what is going on outside the Annex, she also talks about her difficult relationship with her mother, her quarrels with Mr. and Mrs. van Pels, her slowly budding romance with Peter, her love of movies, and her love of freedom and ideas. This would be a good book to pair with Hidden Like Anne Frank, which I read earlier this year.

Currently reading: 100 Ideas That Changed Fashion, by Harriet Worsley, and Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness, collected and edited by Mark Dawidziak.
Tags: autobiography, classic, history, non-fiction

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