I have finished the first book of the year, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, and it has left me in quite a sombre and thoughtful mood, as this book should.
I have given The Diary of a Young Girl 4 stars on Shelfari, though it feels strange and almost wrong to give a book like this a numerical stamp of approval. It feels like if I truly apply a star rating to this book that I am in some way attempting to alter it, to influence it, when it is the book that has truly influenced me.
Anne matures greatly over her 2 years within the secret annexe, and becomes an extremely clever and insightful human being. She notes that “paper is more patient than people”, and I have to agree, as her diary provides a far more in depth and expressive detailing of what life was like in hiding during the second world war than any account after the war could have.
Ironically, throughout her two years in hiding, it appeared that Anne greatly improved herself academically, focusing on her grasp of the English language and a great love of anything involving Greek myths and legends, but remained rather naive on the subject of human relationships.
It seems that Anne greatly improved her knowledge of things that reside in the world outside the annexe, yet lags behind regarding subjects that she is confronted with every single day within the annexe. Her relationship with Peter and her hatred of her mother are parts that I found hard to read, as Anne appears to be very naive when it comes to relationships, as any teenager would be.
What upsets me is that she continues to write about her hatred for her mother, and how she has never considered her to be a ‘mum’ (an affectionate term that Anne would have used if she liked her mother) when she is aware of the fact that her diary may be used as a historical document after the war.
This shows a teenage misunderstanding of how complex and fragile relationships can be, especially given their dangerous situation of being in hiding, and the possibility that they could all be found out and separated at any moment.
In 2013 I read After Auschwitz by Eva Schloss (ISBN: 9781444760682), which is a first hand account of time spent at a concentration camp by the stepsister of Anne Frank, and I strongly recommend the read if you wish to try to grasp the horror that Anne may have experienced after her capture.
For the second book of the year, I will be reading something entirely at the other end of the spectrum: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.