Navigate to Arts & Letters section

The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank (1947)

Behind the bookcase, a childhood spent in hiding

Marjorie Ingall
September 17, 2013

It’s still beloved of children today not because it’s a noble, holy relic, but because it’s a really good book. Anne Frank was no saint—she describes a classmate as “an obnoxious, two-faced, lying, sniveling little goof who has an awfully high opinion of himself,” fought viciously with her mother, envied her sister. She wrote beautifully and with humor, loved pop culture, was curious about her changing body. She had a crush and a first kiss. In spite of everything, she believed that people were really good at heart. She was a real girl—who was trying to be a real woman, and a real person. That she didn’t get the chance to is a tragedy; that we have evidence of her quest to do so is a gift.

Marjorie Ingall is a former columnist for Tablet, the author of Mamaleh Knows Best, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review.