I was never assigned The Diary of A Young Girl in school - I either picked it up myself or a teacher suggested it to me, right around fifth grade. AndI was never assigned The Diary of A Young Girl in school - I either picked it up myself or a teacher suggested it to me, right around fifth grade. And my fascination with Anne and her circumstances, with the differences between her tiny world and the world-changing events surrounding her story, and with the lessons we can take away from her words, has stuck with me ever since.
Perhaps it's because I read her diary outside of an academic setting, but I've never thought about it as a literary classic. I've always thought of it as non-fiction, as fact, so it never occurred to me to consider the writing, the tone, the level of story telling. Which I suppose is why Francine Prose is an award winner writer, a literary critic, and an English professor, and I am not.
I've never seen either the play or the movie based on the diary, and I can't say the story of adapting and creating them has made me any more interested. The poor characterization and over dramatization sound uninteresting - and the choice of tone sounds unsettling. The story of Anne Frank, and the larger story of the Holocaust, the story that she has come to represent for so many people, is not a comedy.
I particularly enjoyed Prose's look at the different messages people take away from their encounters with the diary. Is Anne a symbol of hope, as her famous quote about believing in the good in people would have us think? Or is she a reminder of the horrors that human beings can perpetuate, as she herself pointed out? Can she be both? Does minimizing her to one or the other - to any single message at all - diminish her, ignore her humanity, allow us to ignore the terrible times she lived through?
I don't know. But it's worth thinking about. ...more
I read an excerpt of this in Entertainment Weekly, about just how badly the first run of the pilot went (it's all in the fine balance between mean andI read an excerpt of this in Entertainment Weekly, about just how badly the first run of the pilot went (it's all in the fine balance between mean and funny when it comes to discussing the pros and cons of spunk), and it was so interesting - the small things that can make or break a show....more
I am so disappointed in this book. I went looking for it (and it was later given to me as a gift) in part because Julian Fellowes, creator of DowntonI am so disappointed in this book. I went looking for it (and it was later given to me as a gift) in part because Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, cited it as an inspiration. Now, I love Downton Abbey because of the well-spun insights into characters whose lives are only 100 years removed from mine, but seem so dramatically different, and was excited to see if I could find hints of Cora or Mary or Bates in any of the real people MacColl highlighted.
This book contains lots of information about people of that era (real, in this case), but thrown together in such a maddening way as to negate any benefit from the stories it tries to tell. No sense of continuity, no story telling ability, and whoever formatted this book should be put out of their misery because there is clearly something very wrong in their life that they are taking out on the readers.
Two page long mini-info-dumps appear every 20 pages, often just when you turn the page, mid-sentence, so you must choose whether to turn ahead to finish the thought (paragraph?) and hope you remember to turn back, or read the new section and then turn back to figure out where you were previously, which I know is my favorite way to try to track 87 or so characters, half of whom share names.
And if you would like to try to track the progress of any girl (or girls) in particular, you will need to take notes. The book moves chronologically. Unless there's a theme the authors want to focus on, in which case: screw timelines! Sisters, cousins, in-laws - just list them off, of course people reading this book in the 21st century will know who they are and will remember these people when they are suddenly referenced again, out of the blue, four chapters later. In a caption of a fuzzy picture. In a two page mini-section that has nothing to do with the sentence you were just reading.
Also, there might or might not have been half a dozen young girls named Consuelo running around. Or they might all have been the same young woman. I just remember that name and then some divorced woman who caused a scandal when she married a man half her age. And that might have been Consuelo, I honestly don't remember.
My take away from this book: just watch Downton Abbey instead. And if you don't buy all your dresses from Worth, no one will speak to you....more
... Reagan was really scary, guys. And for all that my town survives largely off our country's bloated military industrial complex and thus I understa... Reagan was really scary, guys. And for all that my town survives largely off our country's bloated military industrial complex and thus I understand the politicians who fight to keep those budgets from being cut... That's pretty scary too. ...more
I finished this one, but I wasn't happy about it. It felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the so-called "age of the geek" than anything an actuaI finished this one, but I wasn't happy about it. It felt more like an attempt to capitalize on the so-called "age of the geek" than anything an actual geek might produce. I might be older and more organically "geeky" than the intended audience of teenage girls, but I don't see why teenage girls should have to suffer through this book....more