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Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1993
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A beloved classic since its initial publication in 1947, this vivid, insightful journal is a fitting memorial to the gifted Jewish teenager who died at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her marvelously detailed, engagingly personal entries chronicle 25 trying months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist who has little tolerance for Anne's vivacity. The diary's universal appeal stems from its riveting blend of the grubby particulars of life during wartime (scant, bad food; shabby, outgrown clothes that can't be replaced; constant fear of discovery) and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every adolescent (everyone criticizes me, no one sees my real nature, when will I be loved?). Yet Frank was no ordinary teen: the later entries reveal a sense of compassion and a spiritual depth remarkable in a girl barely 15. Her death epitomizes the madness of the Holocaust, but for the millions who meet Anne through her diary, it is also a very individual loss. --Wendy Smith
From Publishers Weekly
This startling new edition of Dutch Jewish teenager Anne Frank's classic diary?written in an Amsterdam warehouse, where for two years she hid from the Nazis with her family and friends?contains approximately 30% more material than the original 1947 edition. It completely revises our understanding of one of the most moving and eloquent documents of the Holocaust. The Anne we meet here is much more sarcastic, rebellious and vulnerable than the sensitive diarist beloved by millions. She rages at her mother, Edith, smolders with jealous resentment toward her sister, Margot, and unleashes acid comments at her roommates. Expanded entries provide a fuller picture of the tensions and quarrels among the eight people in hiding. Anne, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, three months before her 16th birthday, candidly discusses her awakening sexuality in entries that were omitted from the 1947 edition by her father, Otto, the only one of the eight to survive the death camps. He died in 1980. This crisp, stunning translation provides an unvarnished picture of life in the "secret annex." In the end, Anne's teen angst pales beside her profound insights, her self-discovery and her unbroken faith in good triumphing over evil. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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First, I want to say that I absolutely believe that this book should still be included in school curriculum. The only thing 'new' about it is that pages and passages were added. Nothing was taken out and the translation was not changed. Reports that the book is so different that it's nothing like the original are false. Reports that the story is different are false.
There is no reason for the edited version to still be used because children read Anne Frank's diary around ages 11-14 years old which was around age when Anne herself was writing the diary. Anything that could be seen as supposedly "inappropriate" can be seen on daytime television with a PG or maybe PG-13 rating. Especially these days, there's definitely nothing in there that is beyond the norm for the average tween-teen. I think that continuing to use an edited version is insulting to Anne Frank's memory. Not only that, but it provides valuable information about the time period and gives more relateability to the diary.
The passages which are included in the new version are not anything that the average 8-12 year old girl does not already know about her own body and the "birds and the bees", and are so few and short that they comprise a tiny percentage of the work itself. The romance between herself and Peter is very chaste and nothing untoward happens in the story. (Spoiler: they hold hands and a kiss a few times. that's it.) The passages that some see as inappropriate are not at all titillating, a medical textbook is more erotic. Coming from a mom's point of view, I would definitely allow my daughter to read the unedited book.
I think this should stay on school book lists because some kids these days see the Holocaust as something that happened a long time ago that is meaningless now, without realizing that genocides and racial motivated violence still happens every day. I think it seems to them like just another thing they have to learn about along with The Hundred Years War and the Crusades.
Anne Frank's diary gives kids perspective and helps makes the tragic loss of life during WWII a tangible thing they can understand. The diary is so relate-able and reflects so many feelings that all teens have had, that she becomes three dimensional to them and no longer a just some person that died a long time ago. This sensitivity towards the loss of a life is what we need now in the times we live in.
As we read the diary we see how much potential was lost not only in Anne but in her entire family. Anne Frank was an intelligent and well-read young woman who studied multiple languages and had an analytical mind. I believe we lost a shining beacon of women's intelligence when she died. She was an emerging feminist, activist, and writer! I think she would have been an amazing woman who would have gone on to do great things. All that potential was lost millions of times over during WWII, and this is what we feel deep in our hearts upon closing the book.
Most of the book is about the privations and hardship of living hidden away in the "annex". There is very little coverage of the violence of the times or much that is going on in the outside world because they had little knowledge of it since they were hidden. I think this is partly why some schoolchildren report the diary is boring. It does get repetitive at times, which reflects the feelings of those living in hiding. They had to wait and wait in fear, not knowing what the next day would bring.
There are many self-reflective passages where Anne laments being picked on by the adults in the annex, wondering if she will live up to the expectations they have for her, hoping she can reach her goals. There is a thread of hope apparent even in her most depressing writings. I think these are the parts I think teens find most relate-able because all teens want to achieve things, please their parents, and find hope in their moments of despair.
Toward the end of the diary we see just how difficult things have become for the family which is not always accurately represented in the movie versions of the diary. They were starving, never full at meals, and having to exist off moldy and tasteless food. There was one bathroom for eight people and at times the toilet could not be flushed. They had threadbare, holey clothing which was too small. The cat used the bathroom wherever it wanted towards the end, and their helpers came less and less frequently as circumstances got worse and worse. Their conditions deteriorated in ways that children living in the comfort of the 21st century could never imagine. It's so important for kids to read about these conditions and contrast them with their own in order to not only feel grateful but to feel sympathy for those who lived in these terrible times.
The Kindle version had fairly large print and worked just fine on my phone and tablet with no issues. The new version has a new introduction and I believe the epilogue has changed a bit as well. I enjoyed the footnotes feature which allows you to touch the number which takes you to the footnotes page, then when you touch the number again it takes you back to the page you were originally on. I had no problems purchasing or downloading.
If you want to know more about what happened to Anne Frank after the diary, there is a book called "The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank" by Willy Lindwer which includes stories from people who met her in the camps.
Another recommendation is the author Eva Schloss who was Anne Frank's stepsister, who wrote about surviving Auschwitz.
Anne Frank was an old soul; much older than her years suggest.
On one hand, it's an often amusing story of a young lady making the best of a horrible situation. However, it is such a tragic and all too common story of a segment of our history we should never forget.
What makes her story so sad is the fact that she had so much to offer, had she lived to maturity. One can almost be certain that she would have had much more to contribute to literature, to history. As it is, we have only this brilliant diary, and what a piece of work it is.
This book is truly a must read
In likewise manner, she describes her relationship between herself and Mrs. Van Daan, and the Van Daans. Only a few weeks after their arrival at the secret annex, on September 2, 1942, Anne describes a quarrel between the couple and calls their son lazy, and on September 21, she calls Mrs. Van Daan "unbearable." Her antagonism toward Mrs. Van Daan will be one of her recurring topics throughout the diary. There is also plenty of conflict between her and Dussel with whom she has to share her room; and finally, when she is fourteen and a half, and in love with Peter Van Daan, she turns her adolescent rage against her own father in a letter defending her independence from parental intrusion and her right to see Peter as often as she liked. She may regret this afterwards, but this rebellion shows us an outstanding character trait of hers, an indomitable spirit, and one of the major themes in this diary: generational conflict; the world of adults against youngsters. Since the very beginning, Anne finds her privacy and free will threatened, not only by the external forces of the Nazis, but also by her mother, her sister Margot, Mrs. Van Daan, and Dussel. When on March 2, 1944 she writes, "We aren't allowed to have an opinion" teenagers all over the world will sympathize. Her musings about relationships between youngsters and adults, however, must not be confused with mere griping; her voice is carried by a balance between passion and reason.
Along with the threat of parental intrusion upon her freedoms, she talks in depth about sexuality and the need for courage in the face of adversity; the importance of work and.having goals in life; the roots of happiness; the importance of religion (no matter which religious doctrine one follows); the unfortunate growth of anti-Semitism, and her love for Holland. Each one of her discussions are appropriate for teenagers and adults as she speaks with wisdom. In sexuality, she advocates for sexual education at a young age. She feels no shame for her periods and openly confesses on January 6, 1944 that she is "always looking forward to the time when I'll feel that secret inside me once again." And when she is falling in love with Peter, she announces on February 12, 1944 "I think spring is inside me." In matters of love, she does sound more radical when she claims on March 2, 1944 "Losing your virtue doesn't matter, as long as you know that for as long as you live you'll have someone at your side who understands you..." But the way she reflects on these issues throughout the diary show a desire to balance out her natural teenage impulses with the reasoning of a maturing adolescent, not a rebel without a cause.
Anne also talks about her literary ambitions and she does show her knack for writing with skill. There is a tone of irony in an entry subtitled "Peeling Potatoes," August 10, 1943. Once you've read this section you'll discover that it is more than about peeling potatoes. A clever story is subtitled "Ode to My Fountain Pen: In Memoriam" found on the November 11, 1943 entry. It's about the loss of her fountain pen. She even makes the most out of scary situations when she writes about an attempted break-in into the factory where they are hidden as if she were narrating a suspenseful story. In addition, on many occasions she shows us the sensibility of a poet as she connects with nature even within her confinement: "As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you're pure within and will find happiness once more" she states on February 23, 1944. Later on, on March 7, 1944, she claims her right to beauty in the face of misfortune: "If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance. A person who's happy will make others happy; a person who has courage and faith will never die in misery."
This does not mean that Anne's diary has nothing to do with the war or with anti-Semtism. Without these two, without the Nazi menace, Anne would have discovered these things sooner in a freer environment (it took her almost two years to explore love and friendship with Peter), she would have developed her skills as a journalist, a poet, and a writer, had not the Nazis and the war existed. And yet, in spite of the overwhelming presence of the Nazis, anti-Semitism, and war, Anne's greatest triumph was being able to reveal the heart of an adolescent with frankness and honesty. Like the great writer of fiction, Jane Austen, Anne Frank found in the tidbits of her conflicts with adults, their everyday quarrels, her bodily needs and intimacy, her desire for affection and love, their disagreements over politics, the voice of all humanity. It is for these reasons, that this diary endures among classics and among must reads for our youth.
A good companion for this book, also sold on Amazon, is the Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography, written by Sid Jacobson, and illustrated by Ernie Colon, because of the historical background for the anti-Jewish laws, the rise of Hitler and Nazis in Germany and Europe, the mass migration of Jews to other parts of the world, genealogical maps of Anne's family, and a map of the secret annex. It also has a timeline of events at the end of the story. Also, some parts of the diary are narrated in graphic format. I recommend both books together.