After 18 months of hiatus, I have forgotten how to write a proper review. I probably forgotten how to post a review on WordPress. Would anyone wants to read a long, anecdotal, passage quoting review in the time when social media tools have sprung up more than it had 2 years ago? Would short reviews work better?
The other shocking thing I found on my book review blog that has never happened to me before was that someone has maliciously put one star in a string of 5 reviews in a row that showed up on the front of my book blog. I don’t know why nor does it matter but it still comes as a surprise. It feels like someone is trying to vandalise my blog. Discredit it. How low can one gets?
The book I was going to review was The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank. I probably have the book for ages and read it for ages, way before I visited Anne Frank’s hiding place in mid-April 2016. Finishing it sometime last autumn.
I kept journals and diaries since I was 8 and as years goes by I wrote more and more. Like Anne Frank, I thought “Paper is Patience” too and much of a loner I thought and still think the only one who could really understand me is me, and then there is my diary.
Reading Anne Frank’s diary reminds me so much of the kind of thoughts crazy or rational that had been playing in my young mind when I was younger, not dissimilar from Anne’s. Sometimes I read a passage and was reminded how I used to think the same when I was a teenager.
“Before I came here, when I didn’t’ think about things as much as I do now, I occasionally had the feeling that I didn’t belong to Mumsie, Pim and Margot and that I would always be an outsider. I sometimes went around for six months at a time pretending I was an orphan.” – page 167
I read a teenage version of Diary of Anne Frank’s but reading the unedited version offers far more new insights and reflections to me. The adults and children were all cooped up in the small space and it was inevitable that everyone would get into each other’s nerves and Anne has captured the frustrations and strife vividly but it is also interesting to read with fresh eyes the development of a caring and love relationship between Anne and Peter.
Anne received her diary on her 13th birthday (12 June 1942), immediately after that she went into hiding. The diary ended suddenly on 1 August 1944. Throughout the two years in hiding, I spot a subtle change in her writing. Depressed surely, despondent and more anger and resentments towards the end. Through it all, Anne was hopeful. At times, it took me forever to finish the book, because it can sound like endless complaining and whinging. There are funny parts in between and when Anne wrote from the heart, it struck a chord that touches hearts.
Sometimes I think God is trying to test me, both now and in the future. I’ll have to become a good person on my own, without anyone to as a model or advise, but it’ll make me stronger in the end. – page 63
‘As long as this exists,’ I thought, ‘this sunshine and cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?’ The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and on then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, that should be for ever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer. Page 195
To Peter – page 196
This morning ,when I was sitting in front of the window and taking a long, deep look outside at God and nature, I was happy, just plain happy. Peter, as long as people feel that kind of happiness within themselves, the joy of nature, health and much more besides, they’ll always be able to recapture that happiness.
Riches, prestige, everything can be lost. But the happiness in your own heart can only be dimmed; it will always be there, as long as you live, to make you happy again…..as long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you’ll know that you’re pure within and will find happiness once more.
I will share some of the pictures I have taken in Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam that I have visited in April 2016.
The house highlighted in blue at Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherland is next to the canal in an old warehouse. You have to come pretty early as the queue starts to build and I was standing 1.5 hours in the cold before I got in.
The ambience was sombre but I can’t help but smiled at Anne’s innocent smiles in some of the wall murals
This is the door to the secret annexe, behind the bookshelf.
A sad profile of Otto Frank, the only one who survived the Holocaust and came back to visit the Annexe.
Anne was hopeful and ambitious. Anne wanted her life to matter, Anne wanted more than having husband and children. Yet all her dreams were destroyed as she was taken to Auschwitz. I am glad that Anne’s father Otto has decided to share Anne’s diary to the world. It is coming of age story set in an important historical backdrop. If you are like me who read the children or Young Adult’s version of the diary, it would be good to read the unedited version.
Anne’s life is a metaphor of the feeling of life in the rut, trapped with no hope. Where do you find inspiration and hope amidst despair? What do you cling to give you the motivation to start anew, to feel alive again. Never lose hope, never lose hope. Find the happiness that has and always there in your heart.
Library copy. Publisher: Penguin Classic 2000; Paper Length: 339 pages; Setting: Amsterdam, Netherland. Finished reading on: Sometime in October 2016.