Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl [Book Review]

“All I can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end… The whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death.”

If any time is a good time to read Anne Frank’s diary, it’s now. The parallels between wartime and the pandemic are overwhelmingly similar. Whilst we cannot imagine the terrors of shooting, bombs, and the rise of a leader, we can relate more than ever to the sense of being trapped indoors, to not knowing what will happen next, to feeling like each day we are living is the same. For this reason, I couldn’t help but pick up this diary and see how I felt about it.

Reading Anne Frank’s diary is, in short, a surreal experience. As many of us do, I already knew a lot about her story, but reading her diary itself felt much more personal. It amazes me that these words on a page were written purely for herself, and yet now they’ve been read by millions of people around the world. I hope she knows the impact she’s made, from wherever she is, because I really feel like she’s spoken for a community of young people during the war that would otherwise have been overlooked.

What I found most interesting about this book was Anne’s conflict between her “mask” of a self (the outgoing, chatterbox she is around everyone she knows) and the deeper, more sensitive self that comes out only when is alone. At the start of the diary, I too fell into the trap of believing her mask. At the start, she seems a little over-confident and it’s hard to really understand who she is as a person. However, the more I read, the more layers of her mind she unravelled, and at heart she had such a strong, loving character. Although she never showed her more serious side to others, the diary really opened up her contemplative side, where she had much deeper reflections on the world, others and her place within it.

Anne speaks a lot in the diary about feeling distanced from others. As a girl who kept her feelings inside, she talks about her parents not really knowing her. She yearns for meaningful connections with others, where she can talk about her deepest thoughts and fears, rather than surface-level acquaintances and, as someone who also prefers closer bonds, this is something I completely relate to. It must be difficult for her father to wrap his head around, reading a diary from his daughter that is so different to who he imagined her to be. But I think it’s a really interesting notion to think about – to remind ourselves that each and every one of us have a public and private self and we are all on a journey to align them.

I think the most surprising part of this book for me was Anne’s mature attitude towards her situation and the world. As she grew older throughout the diary, there were a lot of moments that made me really stop and think about her reflections. For a young girl living in destruction, she had some positive and empowering thoughts that show just how much an awful situation like that can change you as a person. As she mentions a few times in the diary, she became independent in her time there. She learnt how to look after herself and her mind in a time when she could have easily fallen apart. And it’s remarkable that her diary captures this in action.

I’d like to finish on a quote that I think is equally empowering and heart-breaking – that shows who Anne really was inside but is saddening in light of knowing her ending.

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank

Have you read Anne Frank’s diary?

I’d love to know what you thought in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl [Book Review]

  1. Omg this is definitely in my TBR. I read it back when I was 12 as a part of my English syllabus but I do not remember much apart from the gist and background. I saw it in the library last month and I was meaning to get this during my next visit! great review – with some good critical points!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad it reminded you. It’s definitely worth a read now – I’m sure you’ll experience it in a much different way! I think it’s one of those books I would come back to at different stages of my life too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this book few years ago and yes, it was a surreal experience. I had to continuously remind myself that it is a memoir and not a fiction story … A story that definitely needs to be read!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve captured the essence of what it means to be human, well I guess you’ve re-captured it from reading a very emotional and tragic story of a girl trying to make the best of something terrible. I remember reading Anne Frank’s diary back in high school, some eighteen years ago now, and I did not fully understand everything that went into it. Deep emotion, amazing growth, and the idea that we must look for the best in others even when it seems almost impossible – especially then. For it’s in the face of insurmountable odds that we will truly find out who we are.

    Thank you for your thoughts, and your deep reflections of such poignant piece of literature at this time. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts too! I completely agree with what you’ve said – both about seeing the best in others, even when life tries to prove otherwise, and finding out who we are in those lowest moments. Two very important reflections to remember and ones that may become, if not already, “turning points” in our lives. Thanks again for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that! Turning points! A phrase that describes so much of life. Seldom do we end up exactly where we thought we would when we began. If we look back at our life there will be lots of detours, backing up, wrong turns – which all made our journey to the point we’re in an exciting adventure! I think you’ve just given me the topic of my next blog post. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes exactly! We think we have a path set out for ourselves but a lot of the time we surprise ourselves (sometimes even more than others) with what direction we end up taking. The irony being that we often fear the unknown but the unknown is what makes life exciting. I look forward to reading your blog post!

        Liked by 1 person

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