Up until recently, I was afraid to read The Diary of a Young Girl. One of my junior high English teachers told me that my writing was like Anne Frank’s writing. It seems silly now to be afraid to read this book or possibly any book.
However, I’m also still intimidated to read Night by Eli Wiesel. This year, I read it as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I can now check off #1: Read a book that you’ve been intimidated to read. I’m just as surprised as you are that I have not read the book before.
The diary begins before Anne Frank and her family go into hiding. Since the plans to emigrate failed, her parents have been preparing to move into the attic above Otto Frank’s place of business in Amsterdam. They’ve been bringing things over to the hiding space a little at a time. They have arranged to have a few people who worked for Mr. Frank bring them supplies on a regular basis.
At the beginning of the diary, Anne was still doing fairly normal things for a girl her age- riding her bicycle, thinking about boys, and writing in her diary. Before she knows it, she was able to do fewer and fewer things because she was Jewish.
One day in 1942, the Frank family disappears without a trace. Only a few people know that there are people living in the attic. Everyone else believed that they may have been rounded up by the Nazis or were able to escape beyond the reach of Nazis.
Anne is 12 years old when she moves into the attic. I suspect that she had ADHD based on how hard it is for her to stay still and quiet. As she gets older, you can see in her writing how she is maturing. She still worried about boys a little bit but she mostly worries that they will be discovered or starve. Their food options were very limited.
Anne was quite often at odds with her mother and sister. I suppose that it’s normal for a young person to want to be her own person. The teenage years are rough but had to be especially tough while in hiding. She cannot go very far from her parents. She falls in love with Peter, who is the son of the other family in the attic. Their love seemed so sweet and innocent. Of course, her father was not thrilled about the thought of his daughter being in love.
Someone did finally tell the Nazis about the secret hiding space. The Nazis came to arrest the group in 1944 when Anne was 15 years old. They managed to stay hidden for two years. The people in the attic prayed every day for an end to the war but it didn’t come in time for them. People have their suspicions about who told the Nazis. Some people think it was Miep. I think it was someone else. Does anyone really know?
This book is really a miracle. The diary was not discovered until after they were arrested. It probably should have been discovered when the secret attic was found but it remained hidden. One of the helpers, Miep, found the diary and kept it until Mr. Frank came home. The diary is so beautiful and poignant. Anne was an excellent writer.
It is so incredibly sad that she and most of the other people in the attic did not make it out of the concentration camp. This book was amazing and heartbreaking. I wish that I didn’t have to take it back to the library.
I suppose Nazis or people that are anti-Semitic won’t appreciate the miracle of “The Diary of a Young Girl.” They are missing out because it is a classic for a reason.