Audiobook Review: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (published by Penguin)
The audiobook narrated by British actress Helena Bonham Carter was absolutely excellent. Her reading helped to make this story come alive for me, adding humour, emotion and a vibrant personality to Anne that I probably wouldn’t have imagined if I had read the text.
This is a true account of a young Jew, Anne Frank, who went into hiding during the Second World War in Amsterdam with her family, a second Jewish family and one bachelor. For two years the five adults and three children hid in a secret attic space at the warehouse where her father used to work aided by a number of Christian Dutch people who worked there.
Anne was thirteen when she first went into hiding, but her diary, which she devotedly kept, has deep insight and an emotional awareness that, in my opinion, far exceeds her age. She tells of her life in hiding, including the squabbles between the residents in such a confined space, what they did to pass the time, the constant fear of being discovered and of the threat of bombs falling on their heads. She also details the food and the hunger and other events that impact the lives of the annexe residents – some, like the cat wee through the floorboards, made me laugh out loud.
Her diary also includes her internal musings and introspection, her wishes for her future as well as touches on issues like women’s rights and how being outside in nature is good for your wellbeing. And she writes perceptively of her growing feelings for the boy in the annexe from the second family.
What I enjoyed the most was her descriptions of the other people she shared her life with – she paints such a vivid picture of each that they came alive for me, from the coquettish mother of the second family to the bachelor dentist with his selfish ways.
Anne is also an excellent writer and storyteller, her tales of life in hiding are witty and poignant and her diary entries are well crafted and coherent. (Nothing like the rambling nonsense I used to write in my diaries at thirteen!).
I cried at the end of this, the diary ends abruptly and there is an explanation as to why – the secret annexe is discovered by the Nazis and the residents taken to concentration camps.
The Diary of a Young Girl has been on my ‘to read’ list for a long time – it was the first book I added to my Goodreads app when I first downloaded it back in 2012. I’m not sure why it took me such an age to get to it, but I’m sooo happy I finally did because it was very moving and a book that will likely stay with me for a while.
My rating: 5/5
Goodreads | Publisher website
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