Hi, Hey, Hello!
It’s Sunday and I have 3 episodes of OITNB left to watch, so I will finish that by the end of the day and will have to pretend to tomorrow at work when asked the ‘how was your weekend?’ question that I did a little more than just watch 13 hours of television…But before I retreated into my Litchfield Cave I finished a couple of books this week.
The first of which was this one:
The Diary of Anne Frank
Now I have avoided reading this book for 7 years now even since I did GCSE history and it focused heavily on Nazi Germany. I then avoided reading it during my A Levels, where again my history course focused on Germany in between World Wars. I avoided it at uni in my first year where, surprise surprise, I did a module that touched on Germany in WW2 and then again during my final year where I did a module that focused on female writers. And finally I came to the conclusion that I could avoid it no longer.
Oddly, the first thing that struck me about this book (and this is why it would have slotted in nicely with my third year module’s extra reading) is that it was what is considered a classically female story. It’s both a diary and epistolary. And it’s bloody heartbreaking. I mean, I didn’t really expect anything less. I know how Anne Frank’s story ends, but that makes reading this book all the worse. It’s so full of hope and potential and future desires and as a reader you know that her and the others in the annexe got so close to making it out on the other side, but they don’t…
Anne is so eloquent and was such a natural born story teller that when talked of her dreams to become a writer and when she wrote passionately about her fairytales and the stories that she created while she was in the annexe you could see it happening for her. She spoke so candidly about her life in a way that is only possible when you are writing a diary, they are the most true expression of thought and a great place to say what you really think and process your thoughts. It was this honesty and openness that was the worst part of it all. It let the reader in.
It almost felt intrusive to be honest.
That thought in the back of your head that kept reminding you that this wasn’t meant to be read by anyone but her. But you got to know her. Got to know how she felt, how she thought, what her fears were, what her hopes were. Got to care about her. And you always know how it ends. Every time you read about her talking about her future you knew that she was never going to get one. Every time she spoke about not wanting to talk about the future because she felt like there wasn’t going to be one your heart broke a little because you knew that she was right.
It just came in waves. I finished the book sad as hell (and then went and nearly cried my way through a spin class for two reasons, one the book and two, the class was really bloody hard that day). But on the other hand it left you feeling a weird sense of hope.
Anne continued to try and the best of a bad situation. She spoke about how hard annexe living was, but in the same sentence she tried to remind herself that she shouldn’t dwell on the hard times. She was constantly trying to be the best version of herself in the face of adversity and fear and to be honest at points it made me wonder why the hell I complain at the tiniest of things. She wrote about it all so beautifully and truthfully that it almost forced you as a reader to pay attention, and to a degree get invested in her thoughts and feelings.
What continued to strike me as I kept reading was how normal she was, which I am aware sounds a bit ridiculous because she was a real teenage girl, of course she was normal. But I just kept seeing elements of myself in her and for some reason I didn’t go into this book thinking that would happen. Again, I don’t really know why, maybe it’s because part of me only imagined that I would read this in an educational requirement and I would have analyse it to hell and couldn’t just consume it as a reader, but that surprised me as I made my way through the book.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and think the reason for that is because I didn’t read it in an educational scenario. I could just enjoy it for what it is and not have to worry about the ways I was gonna weave it into an essay. I was totally in it and moving from day to day with a girl who was fearing for her life but was always trying to remain hopeful.
The final words of this book will probably stick with me for a very long time, in fact that whole final entry will stick with me because it just brought home the fact, to me, that ultimately Anne was just a teenage girl who felt like she needed one true friend and she found it in her diary.
But it is something that she said, probably slightly off hand, in April 1944 that really stuck with me: ‘I want to go on living even after my death’.
Safe to say she has.
Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!
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