The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition
Published May 15, 2022
About The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition
The Diary of a Young Girl, often known as the Anne Frank Diary, is a collection of entries from Anne Frank’s Dutch-language diary, which she recorded while a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family evacuated their house in Amsterdam and went into hiding in 1942 when Nazis occupied Holland. Anne Frank died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen detention camp in 1945 after the family was captured in 1944.
Anne Frank kept a diary throughout this time, recording vivid recollections of her events. Her tale is a fascinating commentary on human tenacity and weakness, as well as a riveting self-portrait of a sensitive and energetic young lady whose promise was sadly cut short. Miep Gies was able to retrieve the diary.
I’d been thinking that I’d read Anne Frank’s diary in school, but I don’t think that’s actually true. I know we read the play based on her diary and then went to see it performed by a local community theatre. I don’t think we read her actual diary, though.
This year, one of the books banned near me is the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary. I would like to read that book, but wanted to read the original first, since the objection to the graphic novel seems to be that something included in it isn’t accurate to the original diary.
Some Facts I Learned from the Foreward of Diary of a Young Girl
Anne initially kept her diary for herself, but when a member of the exiled Dutch government expressed interest in personal witness accounts written during the war, Anne began editing her diary entries with the intent on publishing her writing someday.
Anne’s father put together the entries that formed the first publication of the book. He opted not to include journal entries referencing Anne’s sexuality (something not discussed at the time in young adult literature) and negative thoughts about her mom and other people she lived with in the Secret Annex.
When Anne’s father, Otto Frank, died, the diary became the property of the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, which investigated and proved the diary authentic. After that, the diary was published in its entirety.
After that, the sole heir of Otto Frank, who owned the copyrights of Anne’s diary, sought to publish a new, expanded edition of the work. This contains about thirty percent new material compared to the original publication.
She Was Thirteen
As I read the entries to Anne Frank’s diary, it struck me again and again how young she was when she wrote them. Though she intended to publish something based on her diary, we don’t have a way of knowing what she would or would not have wanted publicly known. How would she have felt about the things she wrote about her mom and sister– and even her dad– if she’d been the family member to survive the war? We will never have the chance to know.
She wrote so many insightful things, too. She wrote about the anxiety and depression of being in hiding. Her family would hear rumors of arrests, torture, and death in concentration camps. They endured nighttime bombings, knowing if any of them were injured, they couldn’t safely get medical help. And if the building in which they were hiding was destroyed, they’d have nowhere to go.
She wrote about falling in love, about growing up, and about the changes in her relationships with her family members as she grew.
Anne Frank Wanted to Be a Writer
Every life lost in the war and Holocaust is tragic, but there is something especially tragic about the loss of this young writer. Even as a teenager, she had such a gift with words. What would our world have been like if she’d been able to pursue that gift and share it with us for decades more? What would she have written about her life in hiding and about the aftermath of the war if she’d lived to tell us?
I feel like her story would be important anyway as a record of her experiences, but I’m sure what’s made it so enduring is Anne’s ability to articulate her thoughts and experiences in a way that transcends her age. Some passages in the diary are so powerfully written. And yet, in others, she reminds us that she’s an early teenager with hopes and dreams and frustrations about her family, her studies, and her relationships.
I’m so glad I read this book. I think Anne Frank’s story more than deserves its place of honor. This book is so much more than a teenage girl’s diary. It’s an account of a young girl forced into hiding with her family, coming of age during World War II. It’s the story of a bright young mind who finds humor in the everyday goings on around her. This is the story of a girl whose life was brutally ended far too soon.
I highly recommend reading THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank if you haven’t already. I also think it would be worth rereading as an adult because I know that impacted my perspective.
Recommended for Ages 10 up.
Anne, her family, and the others living in the Secret Annex are Jewish.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Anne uses an offensive racial term for biracial people. (She doesn’t appear to be using the term to be purposely offensive, but in the context of the language commonly used at the time.)
Anne reports she once asked a female friend if she could see her breasts and wanted to kiss her. She says she feels “ecstasy” when seeing female bodies. Anne laments that her parents never spoke openly with her about sex. She mentions speaking openly with Peter about the bodies of men and women. Kissing between boy and girl.
Anne’s family celebrates Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day together.
Anne hears rumors of citizens being executed. She hears rumors about people taken to concentration camps. Her family hears they get very little food or water, that thousands must share a single bathroom, that their heads are shaved, and that many are murdered. Anne worries about friends from school and others her family knew. She sometimes has dreams of them asking her for help.
Anne very briefly mentions that someone in her family once tried to end their life.
An adult drinks wine and then does not sleep well. Another adult smokes, and others tell him he should quit. Other scenes reference people drinking alcohol. Anne takes Valerian drops to combat feelings of anxiety and panic during her time in hiding.
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