Rating: 5 Stars
With my first review I am already breaking my code that I outline in a previous post, 5 stars, meaning I would read it again. I have read this book exactly one time in my life and can not ever read it again. It is too heartbreaking.
Having been to the Annex myself, seeing the bookcase, the stairs to the attic, the wall where Anne pasted her photos, I can't even fathom writing a real 'review' of this diary. Because that's what it is, the diary of a child who recorded her thoughts and feelings as any other child might, who faced a horrible situation and ultimately did not survive. Her legacy, however, will live on - as long as people are willing to listen to the message.
"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."
I first read this book in middle school. I was obsessed with all things related to the Holocaust and World War II, and read anything and everything I could (age-appropriate, usually). My family is largely of German heritage and I just could not wrap my head around how these atrocities were allowed to happen. Perhaps I knew more than I should have at an early age, but that's neither here nor there now. I often imagined what it would be like to be Anne, to live in the Annex and to have such an internal struggle in regards to her relationship with her mother, especially. Once I got the opportunity on a visit to Amsterdam a few years ago with my mom and cousin, it was almost too much to handle and I cried my way through the rooms until we reached the end of the tour.
In many ways Anne was wise beyond her years, and in others she was very much still a child, living a horror that she would never escape. But still her words echo, long after her death: "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."