I recently decided to curl up with this book once again, and really enjoyed it. I think it's a great, realistic account of what life would be like for a person in hiding during a world war.
Before I start giving my review in detail, you should know that there are in fact two versions of this book. The first, the critical version, was put together by Otto, Anne's father. This is a great read, but has been censored and shortened a little bit. Things such as conflicts between Anne and her mother were dialled down, and a few letters about Anne's personal development were cut too. The other version, the definitive version, was put together fairly recently in comparison, and contains 30% more content.
I read both of these books, and would thoroughly recommend trying to get your hands on the definitive version. This is the diary of a young girl, and to censor her thoughts seems to me to take away the whole point of reading it. Also, a few of the other reviewers mention that the definitive version isn't suitable for boys or younger children, but really, the content in the book isn't harsh or confronting at all. Anne does talk about getting her period in one or two letters, but this is a fact of life and steering people away from this won't help them grow at all.
That being said, some people would prefer to read the critical version. At the end of the day, it is their choice, and depends on the reader. Just bear in mind that there are differences between the two versions when you are deciding which to read.
"Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is set in wartime Holland. Anne is a young Jewish girl in hiding, along with 8 others. The diary's entries start before they have to go to their 'secret annex', as their hiding pace is revered to throughout Anne's entries, and follows Anne's journey from there. The entries reflect on Anne's thoughts and emotions, her development as a young girl into a teenager, and life in hiding. Anne's words are deep and profound, and tell a beautiful story.
Of course, this beautiful story is a rather dark one. Anne is constantly living in fear of being found by the Gestapo. She has limited rations, and is cramped up into a tiny space, not allowed to go outside. The sound of gunshots are a common occurrence. The themes in this book are clearly dark. It's not a light read, at all. Anne's diary entries aren't graphic, but still leave you chilled.
The entries Anne addressed were beautifully written. I found myself connecting with Anne, and before long I felt like she was a close friend. Anne's diary is written in such a way that it is impossible to distance yourself from her words.
This book is a truly captivating read, and offers deep insites into a very important, yet dark, part of humanity's past. I would recommend for anyone in their late Tweens or above. This book would be enjoyed by a wide variety of ages.