Frank, Anne. Translated by B.M. Mooyart. The Diary of a Young Girl. New York: Doubleday, 1967. Print.
Annotation: Thirteen-year-old Anne Frank gets a diary for her birthday, her very first. Anne begins her diary with the desire to have a friend who could listen to her heart, for she didn’t have one. Thus, through Anne’s friend, her diary, we learn of a girl who had dreams of life, love and happiness, but instead witnessed the horrors of a lifetime. In a secret annex, Anne remains hidden, along with her Jewish family and friends, from what would be certain death if discovered by the Nazis.
Justification for Nomination: Most young women, like Anne Frank, have dreams of what life will hold; the innocence of believing in a life full of promise, a future of happiness. For Anne on her 13th birthday, along with things like chocolates, brooches, and books, received a diary. Questioning her need for such a thing, Anne wondered why she would write in it, and for that matter, who would be interested in the thoughts of a schoolgirl? Determined, Anne writes this: “I come to the root of the matter, the reason for my starting a diary: is that I have no such real friend.” And so, through her friend, whom she sweetly names “Kitty,” we get a glimpse into a life torn by an evil that no human should suffer. I wonder if Anne could have imagined that what she thought would be of no interest or consequence to anyone, would be read by millions of people? Her inmost thoughts and feelings, written on paper, “buried deep within her heart.” Her heart is bare and as we read it, we suffer in sadness as we see this young life grow up too fast, with no chance of seeing that future she so desired and so deserved.
The Diary of a Young Girl goes beyond what any book can describe or tell us about the Holocaust. It is an unfettered, emotionally honest look directly from a young lady who experienced its terrors. It is also a true reflection of the strength of the human spirit to live, to have hope in the dimmest of circumstances. Anne, along with her family and a few friends, enter a secret hideaway, called an annex, where they hide for two long years from the Nazis and a certain fate, if discovered. In hiding, Anne continues to write in “Kitty,” sharing her heart, her feelings as a growing young woman. We get to know her, her parents, and others hiding with her. We also get to know how young people think, the teen experience, and the conflicts that go along with this time of life. Anne writes in her diary for two long years within the annex, until her last entry on August 1, 1944.
Unfortunately, The Diary of Anne Frank is banned in some institutions due to Anne’s honesty about her sexual feelings and normal awkwardness as an adolescent. Who can imagine what this young girl experienced? Adolescence in and of itself is a time of discovering oneself and identity, yet Anne did this in the midst of an unimaginable situation. Teens should be able to understand that their sexual awkwardness and issues of self-discovery are normal. When we ban a book like this, we are telling the teen it is not natural to have these feelings (which we know IS normal). This book is an authentic experience, which not only speaks to the teen experience, it relates the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during the Holocaust – something all people, especially the young people of the world need to understand. It is especially poignant when Anne writes her final entry on August 1, 1944, speaking of her feelings about herself, the “two Anne’s.” This entry is especially moving, considering we hear nothing from Anne again…she talks about how she looks at herself, the contradictions she feels about her personality; these are all things teens feel, and let’s face it, adults do, too. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is an emotionally powerful book that should be read not just once in a lifetime, but often enough to understand the emotional experiences of teens and the specific story of a young girl who should have lived a beautiful, happy life, but was trapped between the walls of an annex and an evil to deep to comprehend.