Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (and Giveaway!!)

Title: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank
Date Finished: Oct 18, 2008 #60
Pages: 258
Published: 1947

This probably was not the best book to pick for the read-a-thon, but since reading Anne Frank Remembered several months ago I've been looking for a good time to revisit this one (it's been about 15 years since I read it last). I loved getting to know Anne again, but her story is so heartbreaking. Just as I was coming to the end of the book, with about 15 pages left, I started thinking about how it would probably be best if I put the book in the freezer and pick something else up for the read-a-thon. And then I flipped the page. And the book was over. There was nothing left except the Afterward. And that was enough to leave me a sobbing heap on the couch as I cried for the hope that Anne felt, her hope that was never realized.

For those who might not know, Anne and her family, who were Jewish, went into hiding in Amsterdam in 1942. Her father, Otto Frank, and his coworkers devised a plan for him and another family to live in the secret annex of his work office. For two years, eight people lived in the cramped quarters of the second and third floor of the building. Anne, who was 13 when her family went into hiding, kept a journal (which she named Kitty) about the daily happenings in the Annex for the two years they lived there.

There are several things that surprised me about Anne. First, she has become so immortalized and idolized that I think we forget that she was a just little girl (whew...going to try and make it through this without balling my eyes out). While Anne was incredibly brave, she was hardly perfect. At times she was love sick, others she fought with her parents (and really did not like her mother). She didn't want to stay cooped up in the Annex and at times she was a little bit of a pest. And all of these things, all of Anne's imperfections, make me love her all the more:

"In spite of all justice and thankfulness, you can't crush feelings. Cycling, dancing, whistling, looking out into the world, feeling young, to know that I'm free--that's what I long for; still, I mustn't show it, because I think if all eight of us began to pity ourselves, or went about with discontented faces, where would it lead us? Sometimes I ask myself, 'Would anyone, either Jew or non-Jew, understand this about me, that I am simply a young girl badly in need of some rollicking fun?' I don't know, and I couldn't talk about it to anyone, because then I know I should cry. Crying can bring such relief" (111).

Another thing that surprised me was how mundane some of the entries were. This goes back to the idea that Anne is a real girl, not an idealistic caricature. And while some of her entries were simply what the dinner conversation was that night or what their weekly menu was or how she was tired of Mr. Dussel, she also talks about her dreams and desires--some immediate and some for the future. She is a hopeful girl who is full of life. But the book was not written as a memoir in hindsight of the events--what she writes about is immediate. To me this makes her story a little more untainted than some of the other accounts might be (I hate to say that any of the others might be colored--but she was writing about what she knew/felt when she knew/felt those things).

Anne Frank's diary is incredibly touching. Not only is it a look into the lives of the eight in hiding, but it is also the look at how the hiding and war affected a teenaged girl who on one hand grew up entirely too fast but on the other never really got to grow up at all. If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it. The book isn't terribly long, and while it isn't necessarily "light" reading it is insightful and beautiful.


Several months ago I read Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies. I was surprised at how many people had not heard of this wonderful book. I have an extra, gently used copy that I would love to pass on to you. To be entered to win Anne Frank Remembered, please leave a comment below letting me know you're interested. To be entered TWICE, also leave a comment on the original post (please make it more substantial than "hi"). To be entered THREE times, blog about the giveaway. Don't forget to tell me about it! Because I feel that this is a very special story that needs to be shared, the giveaway is open to everyone (but be sure I can easily get ahold of you).

I'll draw a name on Thursday October 30 at 6:30 am central time.

*If you want to be entered and have already commented on the original post, you don't need to do so again. ;)


Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

After reading Anne's diary when I was in middle school I because a little obsessed about reading about the Holocaust. It sort of tailed off again during high school but that interest has always been there. Not read Miep Gies's book, but I'm sure it'd be fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to be entered as well. I read Anne Frank's diary in high school and found it extremely moving. It's such an important book to read because it brings home the atrocious nature of the Holocaust perfectly. Reading statistics is so different from getting inside the head and heart of one victim. Anne was just an ordinary girl and look what happened to her, look how it made her feel.

Anonymous said...

Please enter me if it is international.
Anne Frank was one of the first novels i read (yes, i started readin quite late), but i loved it. It is amazing how much knowledge and wisdom a young girl had.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I have read this book twice so far. I think once in the 5th grade where it bored me and when straight over my head, and then later when you come to all the realizations about Anne and her life situation that you have mentioned here.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Michelle - I'll enter you in the drawing--it gives a very interesting perspective about what was going on outside of the annex and how the different people helped out the Franks. Have you read The Book Theif--one of my favorite fiction books about the Holocaust.

*Meghan - I've entered you. And yes, there is nothing like a personal account to really help understand what something was like.

*Violet - no restrictions on this giveaway. I was also shocked at how well-written and grown up this book was. I wondered if some of the politics bled over from her parents, but she had such a strong voice.

*Nicole - After reading it now, I can't imagine how I could have possibly understood the book when I read it in 7th grade. I think Anne was mature beyond her years. Did you want to be entered for the Anne Frank Remembered book?

Anonymous said...

Please enter me. I've read The Diary of Anne Frank several times.

Amanda said...

Hi Trish,

I read this in high school but I doubt I got the full impact of it, because I was a lot more numb at the time. I have yet to revisit it. I've also never heard of the Anne Frank Remembered book. I'd love to be entered into the contest, and I'm going to go read your review now.

Nikki in Niagara said...

I'd love to be entered for this!

Jeane said...

Your post on Anne Frank Remembered was the first I'd ever heard of the book. It sounds very interesting and I'd love to read another side of Anne's story. I first read Anne Frank in high school, and never forgot it. Please enter me!

Michelle said...

Hey, as I said before, I don't ever even remember reading this story even in high school. I am going to put this one on my TBR. Can you believe this book is a banned book in some schools? I posted about the giveaway on my blog, and would love to be entered for the drawing!

Ana S. said...

I know what you being about her being imperfect and how that makes her even more loveable. When I first read this book I felt connected to her for that exact reason. She was a normal teenager regardless of the abnormal circumstances under which she had to live. That touched me more than anything - it made me think of WW2 not as an abstract historical event, but as something that had destroyed the lives of REAL human beings.

I would love to be entered in the giveaway. I'll mention it in my next post, and I'll come back and leave you the link once I have.

Debi said...

I know it's horrible, but I've never read this. Even Annie has, but I've never been able to make myself do it. I do know it's something I need to do...

Your review was beautiful, Trish.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Bermuda - I've got you entered.

*Amanda - Got you down twice. I know exactly what you mean about not quite having the full impact of this one when reading it so young!

*Nicola - I've entered you twice.

*Jeane - I think the only reason I had heard of it is because my sister read it for school (so I stole her copy...not the one I'm giving away though). I'll put you down twice--and it is a really interesting perspective!

*Michelle - I read it in 7th grade but I don't really remember it. I may have read just parts of it? And I can't believe it is banned in some schools--but I guess that shouldn't surprise me. I've got you down twice!

*Nymeth - I had forgotten a lot of the details of the book, so I was really surprised at her relationship with her mother and her love for Peter, but those are the same types of things that I would have written in my diary when I was 14 years old. I think we forget that she was real and she did have those teenage horomones, insecurities, whimsies, etc. It did connect me with her more.

*Debi - It's not horrible! And there were lots of very sad things about this book and written in the book, but mostly it's just the life of Anne. The war is sometimes on the periphery of her thoughts in the diary (if you can possibly imagine that!!). The hardest part I had with the book is that it just ended... Do you want me to throw your name in for the Anne Frank Remembered giveaway?

Corinne said...

Do you want to know how obsessed I was with Anne Frank? Go read this post, friend :) I thought I'd read this, but after looking at my book list, I haven't!! I think I watched the documentary of the same name :) Of course, I'd LOVE to read it. Please enter me :)

Anonymous said...

I'm totally down for this! :)
I gobble up anything related to WWII
I still have the diary of anne frank sitting on my TBR pile, surprisingly I never read it in high school. Anyhow, i've been itching to read it, but when I read alone or watch movies alone, I cry the minute anything is even a little sad.
I never cry in front of people, and so reading and watching films alone is like my little secret psychiatry session to 'let it all out'
I'll definitely need that soon when exams are over.

anyhow, this books sounds really great and again WWII = <3
I have a special section just for WWII books on my bookshelf.
I'm a history major too, so I just love history in general :)

Melody said...

That's a great review, Trish! I remember I picked up this book at the library during my primary school days but didn't finish reading the book... I guess I was a bit taken aback by the topic way back then... but now I'm all ready to read it.

I'd love to enter this giveaway if you do not mind sending overseas. Thanks! :)

Bookfool said...

Don't add me -- I've already got this one on my wish list and I'll just wait till PBS comes through. I have too many books. Loved your post, though!

darbyscloset said...

I'd love to win this book! This is a story I need to revisit....I feel compeled to reread all the great books of american history from time to time and Anne' story is one of them.
Thank you
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Laura said...

This book brings back memories of student teaching. My students really enjoyed reading and discussing Anne's life. I wish her story had a different ending. :(

Laura H said...

Anne Frank's diary is one of the first books I read about someone affected by the Holocaust.(read it in 5th grade) I remeber talking to my parents about it. I just knew that this had happened "so long ago" because people dont act that way in modern times. When my parents set me straight I was shocked. Since then I've read tons of other books but Anne's is something special. Your review was right one.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Corinne - Well then, I've definitely got you down! :)

*Thekea - Well, when I read this on Saturday night I cried my eyes out as well. I was taking pictures for the readathon, so I had some sobfest pictures, but decided it probably wasn't a good idea to post them. Luckily my husband wasn't home--he doesn't understand why books or movies make me cry. :) I've got you entered twice.

*Melody - Just to be sure that the giveaway is not for the diary but for a book written by one of the ladies that helped hide Anne and her family...But I've got you down.

*Bookfool - I really look forward to hearing what you think of Anne Frank Remembered--when i posted my review several months ago I was shocked that more people didn't know the book existed--seems like most people did through the movie Freedom Fighters!

*Darby - I just want to be sure you know the giveaway is for Anne Frank Remembered, NOT The Diary of Anne Frank. I've got you down on the list, anyway, but I didn't want there to be any later confusion. Thanks for coming by!

*Laura - I wish it had a different ending as well. Even a part of me wishes there was just a bit of closure at the end--but maybe that's part of the point. Did you want to be entered into the drawing? You can always borrow my copy as long as you don't look at Kim's scrawling ;)

*Laura H - Anne's book is so special and I'm glad that her diary wasn't found and destroyed. Did you want to be entered for the Anne Frank Remembered giveaway? I can't find any contact information for you on your profile...?

Anonymous said...

I really, really want to read Anne's Diary again. It's been much to long. Please enter me into the contest.

Anonymous said...


I'm not commenting to enter the giveaway. I just wanted to stop by and say that I really loved your review of Anne Frank's diary - I should re-read it soon!

And incidentally, about your putting books in the freezer - one of my favourite episodes from Friends is the one where Joey reads 'Little Women', and he has to put it in the freezer when Beth dies!

joanna said...

I read Anne's diary when I was at school and still think about it. Her story is tragic... Please count me in for your giveaway, if international is ok!

Unknown said...

No need to enter me in the contest, I just wanted to say I enjoyed your review. I've not thought much about The Diary for some time.

Several years ago an unedited version was published. Anne's father toned down much of the original diary when it was first published, especially the difficult time Anne was having with her mother. I have not read the "newer" edition, but it does sound interesting. There is also a volume of her short stories available. She wrote quite a few.

Ashlee and Shane said...

I read about her in school, but only learned the main story everyone knows. I would love to read this and learn more about her!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I'd love to read this. It sounds really interesting, and I love Anne Frank. May I please be entered in the contest? :)

Kari said...

I would love to be entered into this contest. Your reivew was wonderful, I had forgotten how much of an impact this book had on me. While reading the book, it is easy to forget that the writer is just a young girl, who is experiencing all this life changing things in such a small space with several other people.

Although her story is a sad one, it is one that needed to be told. It really saddens me to know that her story is banned in some schools and that more people have either not heard of this book, or have not read it.

I was not aware of the book by Meip Gies, and will be sure to check it out!

Some books should be read more than once, and after reading your post I realized that it's about time I picked up this book again to read. It's been a while and I'm sure that as I get older, different things will pop out at me. Thanks for the great post!

Mistress Meeyee said...

I have heard of this book. I read the Diary of Anne Frank and I am very interested in her short life as well as other people who suffered during that war. My grandfather fought in that war and my husbands relatives were survivors of the Holocaust.

Hermie's Mom said...

Hi! I would love to be entered in the drawing as well.

Literary Feline said...

It was Anne's ordinariness that attracted me most to her story--she could have been any one of us, really. Her story is one that has meant a lot to me over the years.

I would love to be entered into the drawing for Anne Frank Remembered, if that's okay.

samantha.1020 said...

I would like to be entered in this contest. I think I need to pick up The Diary of Anne Frank again since it has been so long ago since I read it.


Anna said...

I'd love to be entered! Anne Frank's story has always fascinated me. I agree that it's easy to forget she's a young girl. Great review!

I've commented on the original review and put the contest in my blog sidebar.

Diary of an Eccentric

Anonymous said...

hmm.. i thought i had entered myself for this giveaway.. don't know how i missed commenting here.. thanks for mentioning it again though:) do enter me for this.. i am sure it is a fascinating book and i am sure i'd love reading this one.. i'll post about this on my blog and leave another comment here soon..:)