The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young GirlThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Publisher: Contact Publishing
Released: June 25, 1947
Pages: 341
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The diary as Anne Frank wrote it. At last, in a new translation, this definitive edition contains entries about Anne's burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages. Doubleday, which published the first English translation of the diary in 1952, now offers a new translation that captures Anne's youthful spirit and restores the original material omitted by Anne's father, Otto -- approximately thirty percent of the diary. The elder Frank excised details about Anne's emerging sexuality, and about the often-stormy relations between Anne and her mother. Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation forces, hid in the back of an Amsterdam office building for two years. This is Anne's record of that time. She was thirteen when the family went into the "Secret Annex," and in these pages, she grows to be a young woman and proves to be an insightful observer of human nature as well. A timeless story discovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For young readers and adults, it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horrors the modern world had seen -- and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.

Of course I knew exactly what The Diary of a Young Girl was before I started reading it. I quickly realised that, even though I knew what it was, I had no idea what it would be like.
In many ways it is an ordinary diary. It is written by a young girl, and it is about the kind of stuff any young person would be likely to write about: Seeking approval, conflicts with parents, growing up, love, and other subjects that would be on the mind of any teen. Naturally, even though this is a regular diary, it is far from normal. Anne Frank and her family are hiding from the Nazis, and know that they, and the people who helped them hide, will probably be killed if they are discovered.
It is fascinating to see how people adjust, and how life, even under tough circumstances, can still seem normal. One page talks about fear of dying, the next about dislike of algebra, followed by a note on how bombs are falling nearby, followed by how grown-ups are stupid.
It is also an historic document, and worth reading for the tragic reminder of how people were treated like anything but during the second world war.
The sense of normality is part of what makes this diary so powerful: it is a reminder how we are all alike. Regardless of ethnicity, religion, upbringing, and even circumstance, we are all human beings who deserve to be treated the same.
At the same time, Anne Frank shows no acceptance. She knows that the situation that is forced upon her is wrong, and she speaks of her hopes and ambitions for when the war is over. She refuses to accept the limitations society attribute to her as a Jew and as a woman. She wants to be the best person she can be, and she wants the world to be a place in which she can achieve this.

The Diary of a Young Girl is as essential as I thought it would be, and is well deserving of the position it has as a must-read book in the context of the second world war.

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