Overview of The Diary of a Young Girl Book

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Does the book The Diary of a Young Girl tell a true story? Who is the author of the diary? What is it about?

The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the entries from Anne Frank’s diary that she kept in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Written from 1942 to 1944, the diary reveals the humanity of those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during the occupation.

Keep reading for more about Anne Frank’s book The Diary of a Young Girl.

About the Book: The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl book is one of the most acclaimed works of the 20th century. It was written by Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who lived and died during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Anne was born in 1929 and lived in Frankfurt, Germany until she was four. As anti-Semitism grew in Germany, the Franks moved to Holland to escape persecution. She was enrolled in a Montessori school and moved to the Jewish Lyceum after 6th grade.

In 1940, the Germans invaded the Netherlands. In 1942, they implemented strict anti-Jewish restrictions, including:

  • Jews must wear a yellow star at all times.
  • Jews can’t be on the streets between 8 PM and 6 AM.
  • Jews can’t go to theaters or any other form of entertainment.
  • Jews can’t use bicycles, cars, or streetcars.
  • Jews can only go shopping between 3-5 PM.
  • Jews can’t take part in public athletic activities.
  • Jews can’t visit Christians in their homes.

Despite these overwhelming restrictions, Anne lived a relatively normal life before going into hiding. She went to school and had friends. In her diary, she talks about her ever-changing relationships with her classmates and the youthful frustrations of an average 13-year old girl. These frustrations included deciding who her best friend was and figuring out which boys liked her.

When her sister Margot received a call-up from the SS, a Nazi paramilitary force, the Franks decided to go into hiding. On July 6 of 1942, they moved into the attic apartment of Otto Frank’s business premises (the Annex), and another Jewish family (the van Daans) joined them a week later.

Anne continued writing in her diary all throughout her time in hiding. She wrote about her experiences with anger, love, puberty, and fear as she and her family hid from an occupying force that wished to see her and her Jewish counterparts dead.

As it was never truly written with the intention of publication (Anne was simply keeping a personal diary), she doesn’t develop any of the themes in an intentional way. The power of the narrative comes through the context of WWII and the horrors of Jewish persecution and genocide. 

Overview of The Diary of a Young Girl Book

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Diary of a Young Girl summary:

  • What Nazi occupation looked like from the perspective of a young Jewish girl
  • How Anne Frank had some normal teenage experiences while in hiding
  • How the hidden residents coped with the stress

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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