The Diary of a Young Girl
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 4 Nov 2015
The diary of Anne Frank was widely read, but for reasons unknown, I had never picked up Diary of a Young Girl. To rectify this, I placed myself on the long wait list for the audio book edition of this title some time ago. As I finished her final diary entry this morning, my thoughts about the book generally leaned toward favorable. Although her story was not as powerful as other biographies, memoirs, and other recollections about the Holocaust (Elie Wiesel's Night came to mind), it served as an important account of the period nevertheless. The topics of her diary varied widely. At times, the naive ramblings of a conceited and rebellious teenager made me question why I bothered to pick up this title, scolding her for not realizing she had yet so much more to learn and understand as if she was present. Her vivid descriptions of the secret annex, however, plunged me into the hiding space beside her. Once in a while, her journeys exploring the depths of her soul revealed a child who was forced to face issues too great even for adults. Her thought on whether it would have been better if the family had been arrested and killed early in the war, so that they would not have endangered the lives of those who were hiding them, stunned me utterly; this was perhaps the foremost example that illustrated her prematurely diminishing childhood.
I had been told that a modified edition of Diary of a Young Girl was required reading for many schools in the United States. The copy I had reviewed seemed to have been a more complete edition, in that her curiosity in sexuality had not been censored. Parents considering this book for their children should give some thought on choosing an edition appropriate to each reader.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Famed actress Selma Blair's performance was outstanding. Perhaps the American mannerisms she had given Frank had not been historically accurate, but Blair's voice for Frank effectively created the ironic feeling that was very fitting for this book, putting the voice of a carefree teenage girl against her own description of a nightmarish environment. Through later research I found that Blair was nominated for a Grammy Award for this striking performance.
I probably would not place Diary of a Young Girl on a list of must-read primary sources on the topic of the Holocaust, but Frank's story was one most worthy of telling, for she represented the thousands upon thousands of innocent children who were senselessly killed due to illogical hatred.
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943