BOOKS REMAINING: 44
CURRENT BOOK: Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging as I was on vacation the week before and worked crazy overtime last week after which I spent the entire long weekend recovering. The husband and I tried to agree to unplug during our vacation. I believe I was arguably more successful than the husband. That meant no talking to his rude and intrusive family for him. But it also meant no blogging for me.
In any case, the vacation was lovely, we visited Fort Walton Beach and stayed at a condominium complex with a swell pool area and beach chair/umbrella rental included, near a boardwalk with several restaurants and souvenir shops. There was only one day of rain so I had plenty of beach/pool time for reading and finished two of the books from the list. I still managed to finish another of the books last week so I am still on schedule to complete the project before my birthday. I intend to catch up my blog over the next few days.
The first book I finished during our trip to Fort Walton was Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. This was another re-read. It was originally suggested to me when I was coming out of sixth grade and read approximately five books every day during the public library’s summer reading program, after checking off the required number of biographies and novels and science books and everything else that they required you to read. That year, I was one of the two overall winners, and the grand prize was that the library would buy you any book you wanted. I wanted a “Black Stallion” book that I had been unable to find at a local bookstore. Of course the family had their opinions and someone suggested Anne Frank so I read it and was intrigued by it, however I still wanted the “Black Stallion” book. My overly pragmatic parents made me get a dictionary (something that’s not even useful anymore in the age of spell check and thesaurus function).
I want to go on living, even after my death.
Anne Frank experienced many of the same things as other adolescent girls, however, she experienced them under extraordinary circumstances. At first, she is a typical teenager who wants to spend time with her friends and flirt with boys, and feels her family doesn’t understand her. She is relatively carefree despite the war and the anti-Jewish activity going on around her. She doesn’t know that her father has made arrangements for the family to go into hiding in a hidden apartment behind the office building where he had worked. When they receive a notice that Anne’s older sister Margot is to be deported, they move up the timetable to move into the “secret annex.” Although they have relative safety and several people from the outside to help them, the conditions are difficult since it is challenging to obtain food, clothing, and other necessities. They share the apartment with another family who has a teenage son named Peter, and ultimately an older gentleman who is a dentist, sharing meager rations for four people among eight people. And personalities clash even more than they usually would, due to the confined space. And there I was the whole time, on a beautiful sunny day lounging on my beach chair and sipping margaritas, while my husband kept to himself as he was engrossed in a book of his own.
As it is difficult for Anne to talk to her family, who tend to get caught up in their own concerns although she is closer to her father, Anne pours out her thoughts and feelings in her journal. I could very much relate to the way Anne’s family expects her to keep her negative thoughts and feelings to herself so as not to burden others, and how difficult this is for her. Perhaps because the occupants of the “secret annex” are forced to be quiet during the day while people are working in the office in front of the building, Anne transitions from being a carefree young girl into a thoughtful young woman. Ultimately, Anne and Peter develop romantic feelings for each other (I found it interesting how Anne and Margot exchanged letters wherein Anne wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings), however Anne herself questions whether her relationship with Peter would have existed if they had not been thrown together by circumstance.
After just over two years in the hidden apartment, someone informs the authorities (historians have some debate over exactly who this was), and the eight occupants of the apartment are arrested and deported. It is very ironic, that this was two months after D-Day when the Allies were sweeping across Europe, and that Anne ultimately succumbed to typhus just a few weeks before the camp where she was incarcerated, was liberated. Only Anne’s father survived, and ultimately had her diary published. And through her diary, she has kept on living, just as she wished.