Anne writes her story, the world reads

The Diary of Anne Frank is obviously one of the most compelling memoirs and influential books of the 20th century, but it was much more personal for me when I read it while I was just in 6th grade.  I remember distinctly that the book was an assigned reading, and although chapters were assigned for certain nights, I wouldn’t follow that schedule.  Instead, I found Anne’s story so compelling I read a greater portion of it in one night.

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I was so interested I went looking for other assignments I could do to relate some version of movie or article covering the diary and the Franks’ story.  I can honestly recall asking my science teacher if I could do a research paper relating to some of the topics and questions Anne asked in her diary.

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In that same year after reading the diary from cover to cover more than twice, I bought two different versions at our school bookstore, and also special books from people who knew Anne Frank or people who experienced similar situations during the same time period, and I watched every History Channel piece that covered anything having to do with the 1930s and 1940s.

The non-fiction work was a masterpiece.  It didn’t matter that she was a preteen or young adult who did not have the most professional writing experience or that she was highly biased in her writing.  In fact, this is what I believe made it so compelling.  The book covered all the awkward, random questions and observations a young person has about the world around them.  She even addressed the comprehension of why adults act the way they do.  Her style was so personal it is easy to see why her father was hesitant about publishing some of the pages as they covered detailed fantasies and hasty accusations Anne had.

The book is definitely most known for its coverage of a secret life during the critical Holocaust and the times of WWII from Holland to Germany.  However, the conversations that I most often had about the book were of Anne’s maturity and understanding of the world, despite her isolation from it.  Someone who admits time and time again in the diary that she is “immature” is actually much more mature than she gives herself credit for.  It is incredible that her writing was impressive enough to sell millions of copies without even being alive to see the fruits of her labor.  She was definitely on the right track in desiring to be a writer.  She constantly acknowledges the fact that people are too quick to judge others, and she illustrates her own misjudgments of the people whom she has spent years cooped up with in the attic.

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Her story brings to light the dramatic times of the Holocaust and the ignorance that even people living in Germany had to the happenings of the Nazis.  The work to this day makes me challenge what is going on behind citizens’ eyes.  It also makes me remember the importance of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, and realizing that my situation no matter how severe could always be worse.  If Anne Frank could address these all while in hiding, I know that any young person can take away the same understanding after reading the diary. Her work made me mature and come to terms with heartache and issues in the world, while appreciating my childhood.  I would recommend anyone read her story, and not just because it is assigned.  Anne’s diary is a type of book that makes reading fun and shouldn’t be taken in just as memorization for a quiz or paper, but, rather, should be read for inspiration and insight.

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Some people may think her work is too private to be shared with the world, but her family clearly had the courage to share it with the world so others could benefit.  Ironically, the diary of occurrences that happened to a Jewish girl decades ago has been so universal.  I, myself, am not Jewish and still find the triumph compelling and not cliché at all.  She did not have a happy ending, nor did the people she gave the benefit of the doubt to deserve it, but this makes it all worthwhile in the end.  If she and her family amongst millions of other people went through these horrible experiences yesterday, the least we can all do is read and remember them and their stories today.

“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”- Anne Frank

If nothing else is taken away from her writing and story other than this, her work will not have been in vain.

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