David's Reviews > The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
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's review
Jun 30, 2008

did not like it

While her story is sad, the naked Emperor cult around this book is unmerited.

The key quotation about people being basically good at heart is absurd in the light of the story, and from a theological perspective, just plain wrong.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 67) (67 new)

message 1: by Wayne (last edited May 24, 2013 02:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wayne I suppose Anne was just a lot nicer than either you or David.

When I first wrote this comment it was to a young woman, a friend of David Epstein's, who fully endorsed his outrageous review.
She has since deleted her comment.
Perhaps she reflected on the many criticisms Mr Epstein has received.
David Epstein did finally respond after 3 years (see message 22)but made no attempt to clarify any of his pompous declarations.
I wrote another response(see message 33)which quotes a very pessimistic view of human nature written by Anne only two months before the positive one that David so abhors. I also quote Anne's justification for adopting a positive view of the world instead of a negative one.
I wonder just how carefully David has read this diary, and about his inability to imagine himself into the terror of this young girl's situation when he calls her struggle to be positive "sentimental".
He has never attempted to expand on "the naked Emperor cult" nor "the theological perspective".
One wonders what truly motivates this Goodread's author.

Faith what surprises me is that you don't realize that this is just a fourteen or so year old girl that is trying to understand how this world works not some adult that pretends that they already know

Tracy What a bizarre comment. You're picking on the writing of a 14 year old girl? And Anne Frank would not be the first person to maintain hope about the basic goodness of humanity despite her terrible experience. Some of the most hopeful and joyous people I've known are ones who have experienced tremendous hardship and suffering in wartime. I don't always understand how they do it, but I feel humbled by their strength and grace and challenged to learn from them. Indeed the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam houses a foundation started in her honor that works to prevent and end genocide. I saw artwork there by children survivors of the war in Yugoslavia, which was still going on at the time. Just because you can't connect to that spirit doesn't mean that the Emperor has no clothes.

message 4: by Nicole (last edited May 02, 2009 02:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nicole Why is hard for you to understand that some people can go through trials and know that people are still good? She lived in a house full of good people, she saw people on the outside willing to risk their own lives for hers, she was raised with a belief in something outside herself....why would she not still have a belief in the basic goodness of people. I'm sure she didn't think Hitler or the Nazi party were good but, she had enough good people in her life proving to her that humanity was still basically good.

message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 13, 2009 06:29AM) (new)

Maybe Anne didn't enlighten what happened outside the attic much, because she was forced to stay in one place for 2 years. When she wrote "I still believe people are really good at heart." You have to put somethings into prospective. These are, 1. Anne Frank was only 14 and she was still in the attic with her family so she didn't exactly know what the Nazi's were doing in the concentration camps to the Jews and her parents were probably hiding what the Nazis' were doing to the Jews. 2. Anne had a loving family so possibly she thought most families were as loving as hers were. 3. She didn't state people were good at heart she said "I still believe people are really good at heart." she said she believed people are good at heart, not stating people are good at heart. So it's unfair to say "The key quotation about people being basically good at heart is absurd in the light of the story, and from a theological perspective, just plain wrong." Because you got the point wrong she never stated anything and even if it's plain wrong you might have a different opinion if your a 14 year old Jew in the Holocaust. I think you didn't understand the book very well if you say all those absurd things.

Wayne Dear David,
It would be of interest to have you as a Goodreads Writer expand on the 'naked emperor" cult and how this relates to Anne's diary.
And, as an ex-seminarian, I'd be fascinated to hear you expound on the theologically negative view of humanity. What is the Jewish line? There are rather 'theologies' than one overriding Theology. The Balinese consider children as direct gifts from the gods and will not even allow their feet to touch the ground lest they be contaminated.
Looking forward to hearing your opinion on these issues.

message 7: by Ron (new)

Ron Seems the only people that whine about the Anne Frank book are the Nazis that want to disprove the Gas Chambers existed so they can bring back Fascism.

Cunts need to get a life.

message 8: by Carole (last edited Nov 18, 2009 07:11AM) (new)

Carole Reading some of the comments around Anne's inspirational remark that she believes that people are basically good at heart, one can only think that some have lost the ability to dream, to see beauty in ugliness, to find the diamond in the garbage. We are so filled in the media and moviedom with violence and evil that some no longer recognize the purity of soul and the wisdom in Anne's young perspective. "Two men looked from prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars..." Anne Frank and what she gave the world was immeasurable. To call Anne's mind 'unrealistic' and to think her story 'irrelevant' holding no significance shows an inability to take the larger view. What some call 'unrealistic', I call 'idealistic and optimistic'. What some call 'irrelevant' I call hugely significant and so needed in this empty world. Anne's perspective stands as a living testimony to historical events some wish to deny. Not only was it not irrelevant but it remains an inspiration in so many ways...to those who can actually see beyond what some call reality to greater spirituality and hope for humanity in the face of atrocity.

Angelique fernandez Wayne wrote: "I suppose Anne was just alot nicer than either you or David."

haha yup!

Angelique fernandez People are born naturally good. It's just the external factors; bad influences that make a person go bad.

message 11: by Carole (new)

Carole It would be wonderful to believe that people are born naturally good. Unfortunately there is evidence that there are such realities as 'bad seeds,' and the controversy between the effects of nature vs nurture continues. There is definitely a lot of support for the notion that negative nurture destroys but if that is coupled with biological factors...brain damage or issues of other genetic factors Hitlers of the world will evolve.

Rebecca Okay, as a few people have brought up, Anne Frank was FOURTEEN. As we get older, we forget how it feels to be young and full of an endless supply of hope (which may come from blissful ignorance, but it's hope nonetheless).

Also, David Epstein, who are you to say any theological perspective is "just plain wrong"? I suspect you're just screwing with people to get a rise out of us (if so, congrats, you did it).

Also, it's important to remember that this book isn't just "a story," it's Anne's personal story. I think a lot of people try to analyze the diary as though it's a novel, which is just wrong. It's ridiculous to judge all of Anne's thoughts based on how they relate to the Holocaust (hence the irrelevancy Steven mentioned) OR to the work as a whole because a diary isn't structured like that. Anne wrote this for herself, not to make some particular statement about the Holocaust. The context is her life, which includes but doesn't always necessitate the Holocaust.

Wayne A nice contribution, Rebecca!!

message 14: by Carole (new)

Carole I agree, Rebecca! Anne actually wrote that she doubted if anyone would care about the musings, ramblings, etc. of a young girl. And how wrong she was about that considering the enormous worldwide publication and success of her story and her 'thoughts'. We can learn a lot from the optimism and idealism of her perspective.

Wayne Hi Carole.
From memory, I think Anne had heard on the radio that after the war publishers would be looking for accounts of people's wartime experiences and so had started editing her diary for that purpose,or drawing up plans to.I'm sure she changed the names of the other Annexe inhabitants to those that are used in the published version.I don't know how much this might have altered what she wrote or whether she kept two manuscripts or just made notes. I haven't the time at the moment to check on this.But it seems she was keen on becoming a writer.

As for David whose One Star award started off this chain, he is either dead, deaf, defiant or defused!!!

message 16: by Carole (new)

Carole First of all of all, Wayne, while I appreciate your comments, whether she wrote it in hopes of one day being published or not, seems irrelavent. I never heard anything remotely like what you suggest, but it doesn't change much for me. I myself started writing at the age of 9 actually. Youthful dreams and optimism are precisely the point. As well, the fact that Otto, Anne's father, found her diary on the floor of the annexe and was himself responsible for taking it to a publisher and thus providing the world with this first-hand account of Hitler's evils, seems to imply that this was a pure account by a young girl of a horrific time in history. And either way, I believe we owe this idealistic and optimistic Anne a great debt of gratitude.

Becky I suggest that people who feel this diary deserves 1 star go to www.annefrank.org, and actually learn the benefits of hearing history from someone who was actually there.

message 18: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Stevens You have to admit that in light of her situation, she's ever the optimist. She saw that even in the worst of times that there was hope and that humans were capable of good as well as bad.

Megha You must remember that she wrote this diary HERSELF. She never meant to write it to publish it, she had no idea it would turn into a book, she did not know that she would one day be literally forced by people like you to write only about the war, and she was an optimist and kept an open mind. She had hope, which not many people have. She didn't know she'd ever have to make her story "juicy" for people. It was her DIARY. Remember that.

message 20: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Dear David, Go straight to hell.

message 21: by David (new) - rated it 1 star

David Her travails and her premature death at the hands of evil people are very sad. That does not make her cult admirable, or her 14-year-old effusions wise. I mourn for any child whose life is cut short, but a premature death does not confer wisdom.

I do not believe people are essentially good at heart. I believe people are created in the image of God, but are also horribly fallen, not least I.

So many popular truisms are nonsense: "The only thing we have to to fear is fear itself." "Government of the people, by the people . . ." "Love is all you need." Yadda yadda.

message 22: by David (new) - rated it 1 star

David She didn't write a thesis about human nature, but others have turned her into a cult figure after her death, partly for political ends. A 14-year old in peril is entitled to be sentimental, but her sentiments don't confer sainthood on her.

Sofia I can't believe you could actually ever say something like that about her. She was fourteen. She's representing thousands and thousands of people who went through the exact same thing as her.

Wendy Terry Anne, like the rest of us, has the right to her own beliefs.

Angrymog You DO realize this is a diary, right?

Rickina The holocaust should have been more exciting,right?

message 27: by Deepika (new) - added it

Deepika excuse me.. but this is NOT a story... it turns out
to be a historical document..right??

message 28: by Alex (new)

Alex Schindler is david going to elaborate on his profound "fallen from divinity" theology or just exactly what the "cult of Anne frank" preaches in her name, or shall I accept that his opinion is reasonable based on vitriol alone?

Kaushalya "Wayne: I suppose Anne was just alot nicer than either you or David."

message 30: by Wayne (last edited Feb 13, 2014 03:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wayne "I don't believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise people and nations would have rebelled long ago. There's a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill."

Now who could have written this very negative view of the Human Race on Wednesday,3rd May, 1944 ???
The same diarist who wrote, on 15th July, 1944,the much quoted:
"It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical.Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."

This quote is the one David finds so hard to swallow.
If you read the quote in context, David, the diarist tells us exactly why she is being so positive about the human nature she criticised so roundly in May:

"It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too.I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more. in the meantime, I must hold onto my ideals. perhaps the day will come when I'll be able to realise them!"

One can imagine the mental stress that this young girl was living under when she wrote this.
Any pontificating comments we might make about her mark us out as Supreme Egos of Little Imagination.

It is comforting to think we may have met our match in a young Jewish girl of 15. She was destroyed, as she so bravely predicted. She lived with death in waiting.
And some find this a mere diary AND "boring"!!!
Anne doesn't merit:"A 14 year old in peril has a right to be sentimental." "Sentimental", my foot !!!!
Anne's is more like an heroic struggle not to lose faith.

I think we judge her at OUR peril.

Wayne Kaushalya wrote: ""Wayne: I suppose Anne was just alot nicer than either you or David."

Thanks, Kaushalya.

Angrymog Alex wrote: "is david going to elaborate on his profound "fallen from divinity" theology or just exactly what the "cult of Anne frank" preaches in her name, or shall I accept that his opinion is reasonable base..."

I was wondering the same. I'd love to hear about this "Anne Frank cult" he talks about. Deep inside I know it belongs right near the theories about the Yeti and Lock Ness Monster, but my morbid curiosity just begs to be satisfied.

Rosemary Anne Frank bore witness to what personally happened to her and to her family because of the Nazi's determination to kill all the Jews in Europe. This is the value of her diary. We can see through her eyes what it was like for a young girl to go through that experience and still retain her faith in human nature. She knew that Hitler's minions were hunting for her but she also knew that armies of men were fighting those Nazis. Our sympathy and love for Ann prove that we, too, believe in the better side of human nature. We don't believe that Jews or any other group should be killed off because of who they are; in fact, we believe every race, religion, ethnic group, gender, or sexual orientation has a right to exist. By sharing Anne Frank's experience, we took our first steps towards recognizing human rights.

Pollopicu Notice how it's always other "writers" who like to trash great works of literature, if they even read them at all. I find that to be too common, especially here on goodreads. I sincerely wonder why that is.

Susan Flythe David is just trying to come off as an egg-head when he's really just a yolk.

message 36: by Melrose (new)

Melrose This is a young girl's diary. Let her believe that people are good. That is the only hope she has.

message 37: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia This is real and the fact that you're discussing it like a story is just plain wrong, rude and insensitive!

Wayne Rosemary wrote: "Anne Frank bore witness to what personally happened to her and to her family because of the Nazi's determination to kill all the Jews in Europe. This is the value of her diary. We can see through h..."
That is so precisely and wonderfully put, Rosemary.
Makes a startling contrast to the posturing and superficiality of the Goodreads author who initiated this thread.

Irene What?? You make no sense whatsoever.

message 40: by Sally (new)

Sally I refuse to comment on David Epstein's opinion, except to say that I hope never to meet him.

Irene My "What??" Comment was intended for David, it just posted way dowwn on the comment string. I cannot believe that David and a few others are so critical of something so pure at heart as the diary of a child!! Anne was only fourteen, a child who lost her youth and was forced to endure more than any of us could imagine, yet she never lost her HOPE and her FAITH in human nature. She had the maturity at that young age, to know that there is still good in the world, regardless how bad things may be in the present moment, there is hope that things will get better. That takes a lot of intuition and and is such profound thinking for a girl of her age. She realized she and her family were not the only ones suffering, and that others were suffering more at the very time she was writing. She was smart and intuitive enough to know they were always in danger, yet she believed and hoped that there would come a time when that darkness would end and there would once again be joy. She was mature enough to know there were no guarantees she or her family would experience that joy, but others might. For a girl of fourteen, that's very profound thinking. At the time she was writing about her experiences, the farthest thing from her mind was "will this be a best seller?" Or , "will my writing be worthy of David's praise?" She was wring a diary, like many young girls did (and still do), except hers did not start with, "dear diary, today I got my first kiss..."

Irene One more thing, David, not every book is written or published for purpose of critics' reviews. Sometimes, probably most times, they are written because the writer simply has something to say. Anne poured her heart into those pages, value that for what it is.

Drishti You act like this was a meditated novel written by a great philosopher. This is a collection of the PRIVATE thoughts of a young girl. It isn't meant to be a great contribution to literature or philosophy - it is a piece of history (very relevant piece of history I must mention). I wonder, do you write your personal diaries with the skill of a Hemingway or Oscar Wilde? Do you write them thinking "wow, this is profound. The future generations will call this a work of art." This is what your review seems to imply.

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

You deserved the gas chamber David.

message 45: by Alec (new)

Alec Hensley You rock!

Cindy I find this comment bizarre and arrogant because Anne wasn't writing a book for other people's amusement and/or critique, she was a teenage girl writing a personal diary about her thoughts and her experiences. This book has become important after the fact because it demonstrates hope during a devastating time, and reminds people to look for what is positive in life. I think every entitled overly indulged person who complains about how hard their life is should read Anne's story so they can get a perspective on what true hardship and suffering is. Maybe they will appreciate how good they really have it.

David If David was messing with our collective heads, (except message 48, who I am assuming thinks that David Rocks), which I hope is not true, he certainly succeeded. One person like David on Good Reads is enough. Since he wrote this review, "While her story is sad, the naked Emperor cult around this book is unmerited.
The key quotation about people being basically good at heart is absurd in the light of the story, and from a theological perspective, just plain wrong", on 30 June of 2008, 46 people have hit the like button. This really astounds me. About 46 too many. But....look at their pictures. Just goes to show how true the saying, "a wolf in sheep's clothing" is. I would want to stay FAR away from anyone who actually hit the like button on Davids garbage.

Kylie Hello, she was 14 years old. This is her diary, not a story about her with some comments from the author. I wonder if you've even read it.

Lucy-Anne Smith I cannot believe how small minded some pompous people can be! David, wake up, read the book again and re- review it when you have more sense! I would like to see how you react to losing a playground fight when you were a child, let alone a would war!

Katie Hey David...do us a favor and go fuck yourself.

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