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"I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be
useful or bring enjoyment to people, even those I've never met. I want
to go on living even after my death!"
When Otto Frank's daughter Anne pointed out the small red and white
plaid autograph book in a shop window, just before her thirteenth birthday, he could not have known that it would become one of the most moving and inspirational icons of the 20th century. Just weeks after Anne began to write in her new diary, she and her family were forced into hiding to escape the Holocaust. She continued to write, detailing the mundane details of life in hiding � bad food and bad tempers, and a shortage of space, of clothes, of everything, except, perhaps, hope.
What makes Anne's diary particularly resonant is the real voice of an ordinary teenager in an extraordinary situation: Anne's dreams, emotions, frustrations and angst are typically adolescent and her character leaps from the pages as she reveals even the less attractive aspects of her nature.
Otto's tenacious younger daughter was
opinionated and precocious, with wisdom and a talent for writing which
were both far beyond her years. At the end of the book, when Anne writes that the family has been betrayed and she knows that there is no hope left, one has an acute sense of the needless loss of such enormous potential. But what a wonderful gift to the world she left behind in her diary, a gift which has ensured that she did not, after
all, live in vain.