I’ve heard some people say that Anne Frank was a Holocaust book for fourth and fifth graders, because she had been of course, around that age when she wrote her diary. But they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Often, this is a book seem to go far beyond the depth of thought of a thirteen-year-old girl; at other times, it is simply just a diary of a girl who daydreams about her just like any other teenage girl. I wondered whether all girls at her age had been like Anne (even though Anne had condemned all of her friends to be shallow), or whether Anne was just an ordinary girl in an extraodinary situation.
What stroke me as most surprising when I first reading the diary, was Anne’s superb mastery of words. Her eloquence was extremely easy to follow and soothing to read. This girl of mere thirteen years when the diary had started, could write better than most of the people I know. I wondered whether it was simply because of the time period she had lived in, and whether everyone could write as clearly as she did.
Anne had mentioned multiple times that she wanted to be a writer or a journalist when she grew up, and, based on her writing prowess at age thirteen, I’m certain she would’ve made a great one.
She wrote “I want to go on living even after my death”, which made me quite sad. It also reminded me of an Hilare Belloc quote, “When I am dead, I hope it will be said: ‘His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'” It of course, does not have exactly the same meaning as what Anne had written, but I am comforted at least in the fact that Anne Frank lives on (and will live on!) through her words.
After I’ve finished this book, Anne stayed with for a couple more days in my mind: her words kept coming back to me, the image I had drew of the Secret Annexe haunting me, her presence seemed to stay with me wherever I went. It’s kind of a wierd thought, but this happens to me very often with books that move me, truly move me. And Anne’s story certainly did. Hers is story about love and family and teenage crushes and the war. Hers is a story that defies any age restrictions (whoever might have set them!). Hers is a beautiful, devastating story that deserves to be read in years to come.
And lastly, here are some of Anne’s words that have moved me the most:
“And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!”
“I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn… I can recapture everything when I write, my thoughts, my ideals, and my fantasies.”
And of course, the best-known and the astounding:
“Because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
I believe it takes someone truly courageous and wise to write such a sentence, and Anne Frank had certainly been such a person.