Saturday, October 1, 2011

Banned Book: The Diary of Anne Frank

Today I am writing this review on behalf of Banned Books Week and in particular, in conjunction with Sheila over at Book Journey in celebration of our right to read whatever it is we please.  I had planned a multitude of other things to appear this week, but unfortunately, sickness has prevented that.  I will try to post at least one of these before the end of the week for your reading pleasure, however.

In honor of Banned Books Week, I decided to pick up the book The Diary of Anne Frank.  For those that have not heard of this book before (and I truly believe you would be in the minority here!), this is a true diary of a young Jewish girl that went into hiding with her family during World War II, in the height of Hitler's Nazi regime.  For more than two years, they hid away in safety and avoided the concentration camps while literally life around them was destroyed.  However, before they could experience the "after the war" world that they all imagined, they were discovered and sent off to their death.  The only living member of the family was Anne's father, who graciously has allowed Anne's story to be shared with the millions that need to hear it.  This is a story that cannot and should not be forgotten.

I have read The Diary of Anne Frank a couple of times before, both in my earlier years.  When I first read the book, I was astounded at what someone my age had experienced and made me appreciate even more the things I did have in life.  My little worries of living life in a small town and dealing with high school drama was nothing compared to Anne's life in hiding.  Granted, I also could relate to her on many levels being a teen myself at the time of my earlier reads.  On the other hand, on this re-read, I gathered a multitude of other emotions from the read.  Since my first readings, I have read and researched the Holocaust and Hitler, gathering many more facts since my younger years.  Combining my increased knowledge on the topic as well as now being a parent myself, I now view the book in a different light.  I still am humbled at what Anne and her family had to live like in hiding; however, I read the book thinking about what Anne's parents have done to keep the family and their children safe.  Knowing that as hard as they tried and the outcome that resulted, made this re-read much more difficult.  I saw foreshadowing and irony in entries that were never purposefully written in.  In essence, the book proved to be a more difficult read this time, but not one that is any less important.

I feel this book is very important for everyone to read.  Though due to the graphic conversation that could result after completing the book, I do not believe it is one that should be simply read.  It is one that needs to be discussed and processed.  Though it is an easy read, it is not necessarily easy for one to fully comprehend and a discussion may be necessary after its completion.  I do NOT believe it should be challenged or banned in any way, but others have disagreed.  In fact, according to an article in the Washington Post in January 2010, a school in Virginia recently removed a version of this book due to sexually explicit content and themes of homosexuality.  Over the last few decades, ALA has recorded six different challenges to the book for this same reason or because it was "a real downer."  Even today, this book proves to be a controversial one, and it should be!  We cannot ignore the history of our world and this book ... this short-lived life of Anne Frank ... is proof of that.  We must always remember!

As I mentioned above, this article is written in conjunction with Book Journey Banned Books Week.  Be sure to pick up all the clues from Saturday, September 24th to TODAY (Saturday), October 1st and leave a comment on each of the participating blogs to be eligible to win the prize package.  Participating blogs are posted daily at Book Journey (  Good luck and have fun!

And, your clue is . . .

Have you read The Diary of Anne Frank?  What have been your thoughts, particularly when considering past versus present?  What books have you read for Banned Books Week 2011?


  1. The Diary of Anne Frank is a piece of our tragic history, and the thought of it being banned fills me with a deep sadness. Not wanting to deal with the truth, the past, or uncomfortable situations is exactly what gets people in trouble- there is so much to learn and discuss from just this one book. It's been amazing this past week to see so many people talking about banned books and doing their part to bring attention to it.

  2. I am so glad you read this book again... its one I need to read again as well.

    Thanks Tif for being a part of Banned Books Week!

  3. The book has been on my shelf for a while. I really need to get it and read it. Thanks for sharing your review!

  4. I read it for the first time last year. And I really can't imagine anyone wanting to ban it, either for sexual content (explicit?? hardly, just normal teenage behaviour) or themes of homosexuality (they must have gone right over my head, that's not what I noticed or remember about the book). As for trying to ban it 'because it's a real downer', words fail me.

  5. It's such a sad book. I agree, it needs to be read and discussed.

  6. I can't believe a book like this would be a candidate for banning. That's crazy.

    I haven't read it in years, but I recently picked up Francine Prose's book about Anne Frank and her diary and would really like to read them together sometime.

  7. how silly! i first read the book when i was about 13, i've seen the movie and the miniseries. i wasn't shocked...i mean really, sex was invent a LONG time ago. kids today probably know more about sex than i did at the same time. exposure to

    homosexual theme? there are more kids coming out daily! it's only the old folks who want to denigh it out of existence.

    but the one reason for banning the book is because it is a 'downer'. when are war stories and 'upper'? it was bad before ww2 and has been bad in korea, viet nam, and all the gulf stuff that seems to have gone on forever!

    i was 10 in 1955. i remember going to the drugstore and leafing thru a life magazine that had pictures of the death camps. was i shocked to see that they were in life? no. did i want to see them, yes. until i saw the pictures, i just could not believe just how horrible some people could be to others. on the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb to end the war with japan, life ran story showing the results results of that bombing then and on the anniversary date. how desperate the times if this action was the only way to STOP a war. so why do i look, listen, read these stories? because 'knowledge is power' especially when it comes time to vote.

  8. I'm one of the few that haven't read this book, even though I've wanted to for years. It's time to put it on my TBR list!

  9. I read this as a child. I need to go back and read it again.

  10. Kate ... You have said it perfectly! Thank you so much for stopping by and contributing to the conversation!

    Sheila (Bookjourney) ... You're welcome and thank YOU for having me! I feel honored! :)

    DarcyO ... I definitely recommend this one and it really is a quick read!

    Tracy ... I think the homosexual themed entries are only in certain versions of the book, but not all of them, but even then it can still be considered normal teenage behavior the way it is written in my opinion. And, words fail me as well! We are truly talking about real life here!

    Chris ... Agreed!

    Erin ... I don't think I'm familiar with Francine Prose's book. I'm off to check it out. Thank you!

    HODGEPODGESPV ... LOL!! You are sooooo right on your thoughts about the topic of sex! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Knowledge truly is power and we need to keep spreading it around!

    Vicki ... Yes it is! I promise it is a quick read!

    heather ... I will be curious to hear how your thoughts change as you read it now!

  11. I imagine this would read very differently as an adult than as a child. I read it when I was younger but should probaby read it again.

    And banning a book because it is a "downer" is totally ludicrous. Then again, most of the reasons for banning books are ludicrious.

  12. Jenners ... I think it was a different response reading it when I'm older. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I would love to hear that I'm not alone when you read it! :) And, complete agree about reasons for banning being ludricous!

  13. I read this in 2010 for part of a Holocaust Remembrance Week project. That was actually the first time I read it. Have you read Annexed by Sharon Dogar? It's a fiction book telling Peter's side of the story. It's a little controversial (should his story have been fictionalized?) but I found it moving.

  14. Introverted Jen ... I have not read that one, but I am definitely adding it to my list. I can imagine it would be controversial, but it still sounds very interesting.


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