Customer Review

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paper is more patient than man., 11 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition (Paperback)
Since a young age I had known about Anne Frank, from her diary, hiding in the "Secret Annexe" in Amsterdam during the Second World War, and ultimately her tragic death at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. But until recently I had not read the diary. I had been read extracts from it but never picked it up and read it from beginning to end. If I try to think of reason behind why it took me so long, I fail to think of one.

I started reading on Tuesday and quickly found myself in a state of being half surprised. Growing up, though knowing it was non-fiction, and had actually happened, I only ever really read fictional books so a part of me imagined reading the Diary would just feel like reading a rather realistic fiction. What took me (oddly) by surprise is how aware I was of the fact that it is a Diary. It wasn't at all like the `realistic fiction' I imagined when I was younger. This I discovered quickly, and thus made me hang on every word.

Another thing I noticed early on was Anne's sense of humour, which I didn't expect. There were entries that not only made me smile, but if I was with someone, they'd notice I was somewhat amused, and I would then read them what I found funny.

"I was being discussed and they decided that I'm not completely stupid after all." - 21st September, 1942.

I'm aware of how odd, if not disrespectful, it may sound, laughing at the Diary, considering the situation they were in. But don't get me wrong, it wasn't laugh out loud funny. Anne wasn't telling a joke, she had a very subtle sense of humour that really wasn't obvious. You could see it was present though, in the way certain comments were worded.

"Mr. Van Daan used to be in the meat, sausage, and spice business. It was because of his knowledge of this trade that he was taken on in Daddy's business. Now he is showing the sausagy side of himself, which, for us, is by no means disagreeable." - 10th December, 1942.

It was around half-way through the Diary when I found myself thinking about it more when I was busy doing other things. I wouldn't say I felt guilty as such. Thankful, is what I felt.

One night, I looked around my room, at all my belongings, and just felt so thankful that I have all the things that I do. The guilty-side would make more of an appearance at dinner-time, or when I would climb into my large snugly bed. I've felt this a little less now that I've finished reading. But the thankfulness remains here to stay.

In the beginning I admired how observant she was, and her ideology, her views on the world, her theories. As the diary progressed you could see her becoming a young woman, and it's not only you, who is learning more about her, but she is learning about herself, and is honest about it.

She becomes aware of her strengths, and her flaws. And as this went on I just became more fascinated by every entry. I also pondered how what she wrote still applies today, there are obviously differences but in the grand scheme of things not a lot has changed. The feelings felt, thoughts and curiosities are exactly the same as any teenager nowadays.

There was something I noticed on the evening that I finished reading the Diary, and not long after I thought of a possible theory behind it. That entire day I could've easily picked the book up and finished it. I wasn't busy that day, I was thinking about the Diary, and I know I wanted to finish it. But 6 o' clock in the evening came along and still I had not touched it. My theory came to me later that night when I began to read again.

I was reading it knowing what was coming, knowing full well what would be the outcome to all of it, and she continued to write, with no idea. (This became sadder towards the end with the invasion of the Allies beginning). And after a while I thought, on some level, if I didn't finish reading it, they can't get caught. And it couldn't have ended like it did.

"Dear Kitty, Now I'm getting really hopeful, now things are going well at last. Yes, really, they're going well! Super news!" - 21st July 1944. Anne's penultimate entry, just 15 days before capture.

When I had finished reading the Diary, I honestly felt like I had sort of lost a friend. I had learnt so much, and felt like Anne was confiding in me. Even though I knew how it ended in advance, I felt I had to prepare myself for the end and felt, well if I'm honest, a little lost when I was finished. I still feel like this a little, the day after.

Maybe it's just because I could feel with my fingers that there weren't many pages left, but the last few pages read almost as if they were finalizing things. Despite Anne having hope that it would all be over soon. I have never shed a tear over a book before but last night there was a statement that ended this.

"Daddy and Mummy have always thoroughly spoilt me, were sweet to me, defended me and have done all that parents could do. And yet I've felt so frightfully lonely for a long time, so left out, neglected and misunderstood."

No other book has been such a journey, so to speak, for me. I'm positive that this week changed me. This book changed me and the way I think. I thank Anne Frank for this. Sometime in the near future I shall visit the house, and the "Secret Annexe", to pay my respects.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 May 2009 20:24:20 BDT
Mart honey,
Your review made me cry. It is insightful, articulate, real and beatuful. You restored my faith in fellow souls. Thank you darling and God bless you.

Posted on 17 Feb 2010 18:43:20 GMT
A great review of a great book. I too would love to visit the museum and say a silent prayer for all who lived there, particularly Anne.

Posted on 20 Apr 2010 11:41:33 BDT
Mr. P Benson says:
This review has been extremely well written and has confirmed my desire to buy this book, and read Anne's diaries. As a 45 year old man, who has two children of his own, this review has brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write such an excellent review.

Peter Benson

Posted on 13 Mar 2013 11:58:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Mar 2013 11:58:53 GMT
Your review has actually caused a tear in my eye, and I would definitely read this diary. Thank you.

Posted on 16 Apr 2013 16:26:49 BDT
Beautiful review, very moving. I've wanted to read this book since I was Anne's age, over twenty years ago!
High time I got around to doing so and your lovely review has spurred me on. Thank you.

Posted on 17 Apr 2013 16:58:02 BDT
I visited The House about 3 years ago with my mother, I was 17 and didnt know to much about what happened back then. My mother filled me in with the Outlines so i understood a little bit. As i walked round people had tears in their eyes, all was very quiet (Now i know this was a sign on respect) My Mother too but i just didnt understnad the full picture of Annes Life so i walked round reading things but very silently thought to myself - why? This is 'Just' a museum. We went behind 'the secret bookcase' (That bit i understood) and it hit me what life must of been like. My mother was telling me bits as we walked round. We got to the end and i really wanted to understood the full story so i bought Anne Franks Diary from The Museum Shop. It took me just 4 days to read this book and i am so glad i did. I wish i read this before i went so i could understnad and feel what everyone else was feeling/Thinking. This was one brave girl who in these days would of been a Beautiful head strong girl. The diary entries tug at my heart strings and now after reading the moving diary entries of Anne Frank i wish to go back so i CAN pay my respects to someone who has hopefully changed people thoughts and ways in this world.

Posted on 22 Aug 2014 17:23:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Aug 2014 17:35:13 BDT
Thank you dear Martin for such a profound, heartbreaking and articulate written review. We are going to Amsterdam for our honeymoon next year after my operation on key cervical spine. We have been doing a lot of research of Ann Frank and we have seen the videos and film. And it is time to read Anne Frank Diary before we go to pay our respects and leave red roses for Anne and her dear family and sell those who where present at that time, blessed be the angels in the Lord's name AMEN. I loved every word you have written in your review your own feeling and emotions you gave shared of your journey through the diary with Anne Frank. I will make a point of sharing my personal journey after I have read the Diary of Anne Frank. May you be blessed in every way each and every day. Big warm huggs. And thank you. Abientot. Mrs Lizzie Christian xx (maiden name Feeney)
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