Final Thoughts: The Diary of a Young Girl

On the contrary, beauty remians, even in 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!

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

I recently finished rereading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank for the first time since I was about the age Anne was when she wrote her diary. It was an interesting book to read as an adult. The writer is eloquent and interesting, but not always likable and not without the impatience and arrogance of any teenager. She lived through harrowing experiences and writes about them frankly, but never without losing hope. It’s that tone of hope and optimism that I most appreciated about the diary.

It is difficult to really imagine what it would have been like living in hiding and being constantly worried about being discovered, yet being mired in the day to day drama of a group of people who don’t entirely get along at the best of times. It sounds amazingly stressful and terrifying, and I’m certain it was, but Anne is constantly able to look at the bright side and be optimistic.

I see the eight of us in the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky surrounded by menacing black clouds. The perfectly round spot on which we’re standing is still safe, but the clouds are moving in on us, and the ring between us and the approching danger is being pulled tighter and tighter. … I can only cry out and implore, “Oh, ring, ring, open wide and let us out!”

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

Anne’s frustrations with her parents (who “never understand” her) are vivid, as are her feelings of remorse when she lashes out at them. Her flirtations, romances, excitements, and disappointments with Peter are so perfectly real and believable that it’s hard not to be caught up the roller coaster of her emotions, so focused even in the midst of this terrifying experience.

Somehow, no matter what she describes, from adult squabbles over money nobody can really spend anyway to frightening descriptions of almost being caught numerous times, Anne is able to find the humor in every situation. The cat pees in the wrong place and ruins some of their precious food (which they have too little of as it is), but Anne is able to laugh at the situation, the scramble to fix things, and the worry at every drip from the ceiling they notice thereafter. She is also able forgive the cat for not realizing that wasn’t a good place to pee.

Every once in a while, there is a passage that is uniquely heartbreaking from the standpoint of knowing what would eventually happen to Anne. She had such hopes and dreams of being a journalist or a writer and of having her own family.

That’s why with everything I do and write, I imagine that kind of mom I’d like to be to my children later on.

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

I’m very glad I reread this book at this point in my life. It is a beautiful glimpse into the mind of a girl who was real and imperfect and wonderful – a girl like every other girl who lives, but who will be remembered because of the moment in history when she lived and died. Anne is not the perfect example of a tragic victim that I remember feeling like everyone made her out to be when I was young. Her story is not the difinitive Holocaust or hiding from the Nazis experience by any means. That said, it is a powerful piece of history to be able to experience this way. It’s a glimpse into something most of us will thankfully never have to experience.

Most importantly to me, it’s the voice of a girl who was part of an entire population being silenced, yet who is able to speak her reality and her experiences to the world decades after her death. That’s a pretty amazing thing. It may not be exactly what Anne wanted to be remembered for, but it is a pretty wonderful thing to be remembered in your own voice for your own story.

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

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