I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
I finally got around to reading this heart-warming and heart-wrenching document. I attempted it as a much younger person and didn’t get very far, perhaps because I was a teenager myself with my own angst to deal with.
There’s no doubt that Anne was right about her own writing abilities. If she had lived, I think she definitely had a chance to become a significant author. She could have edited her own diaries to begin with and perhaps written more about the Jewish experience during WWII.
I think her father (the only surviving member of those concealed in the Annex) was a brave man to allow her journals to be published. He and his wife do not always come out of them looking good. However, we, as readers, are continually reminded that the people confined in this small space are bound to clash with one another repeatedly. Imagine having no space to truly call your own, having to share cooking & food supplies, not having easy access to a toilet and not being able to flush during certain hours, and having to be quiet during the workday so as not to alert the employees working below them! Prisoners in jails have better living conditions!
I am also impressed by the courageous Dutch folk who hid their Jewish friends and kept them supplied with the necessities of life for so long. That’s a big commitment and they fulfilled it for two years with very few glitches (health problems for all of them sometimes made for erratic food delivery). How many of us would have the fortitude and the bravery to attempt such a feat?
The saddest part of the book was definitely the afterword—Anne’s last entry is absolutely ordinary (in an extraordinary circumstance) and then they are betrayed and sent to concentration camps. They had lasted so long and the end of the war was just a year away (although they had no way to know that). I was left with the melancholy question of what might have been.