I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through this by the end of History Month here, since I’ve been so busy and my reading time has been curtailed somewhat. But it’s the weekend now, I’m not at work, and so I had time to finish the last little bit before committing myself to cleaning and packing for the day.
Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Anne Frank’s diaries have always been among the most moving and eloquent documents of the Holocaust. This new edition restores diary entries omitted from the original edition, revealing a new depth to Anne’s dreams, irritations, hardships, and passions. Anne emerges as more real, more human, and more vital than ever. If you’ve never read this remarkable autobiography, do so. If you have read it, you owe it to yourself to read it again.
Thoughts: I regret to say that it was only recently that I actually finally read this book, though I’ve one edition or another on my bookshelf since the sixth grade. And while I am tempted to do something of a joke review and talk about none of the events contained within the book were realistic and none of the people were believable as characters, I think I owe it to the people who actually went through that nightmare to do this thing seriously.
I became fascinated with what civilian life was like during World War 2 after seeing a book of my grandmother’s: Robert Westall’s Children of the Blitz. Plenty of books will tell me what the political side of the war was like, what it was like for the people on the front lines, doing the fighting, but there are too few books that will detail was it was like for those who were just trying to stay alive in their homes. It’s one thing to shake your head and say it was a terrible time and to quote some statistics, but it’s quite another to read something written by somebody who was actually there, talking about their life amid uncertainty and bombing and fear of being killed in the night. It brings it all home, makes something distant and sanitized seem actually real, and, if you think about it, might actually cause a sleepless night or two.
While reading this, I was struck with just how alike Anne was to the girls of her age that I knew and know. Occupied with the same problems, thinking the same thoughts, and never mind that Anne was in hiding from Nazis and nobody I know can claim that. Reading entries about things like her daily routine, her thoughts about others, the sense that “life goes on” really came through clearly. No matter what, no matter how serious the situation, we still remain ourselves and the same old things will still bother us. We may not complain about them as much, but they’re still there.
I her thoughts about Peter to be particularly amusing. It started with, “Oh, he’s so dull,” went to, “He’s interesting, but you mustn’t think I’m in love with him, because I’m not,” right to, “I can’t stop thinking about him, I think I’m in love with him.” Oh, teenagers.
I don’t often come across books that I would recommend to everyone I meet, but it seems a shame if a person goes their life without reading this book. There are echoes of World War 2 still in our society today, and to not understand even a little of what that all means is a little bit sad. It’s not knowing your own history, particularly if you’re in, well, Europe, North America, various parts of Asia… Yeah, there’s a reason it was called a World War, after all. If you happen to live in this world, do yourself a favour and read this book if you haven’t already. It may not contain any stunning revelations about life, but you close the book at the end feeling a bit different than before.