One of the books that affected me greatly as a teenager was Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
You know the story. Anne Frank was a 13-year old Jewish girl living in Frankfurt, Germany when she received a diary for her birthday. Her family fled Nazi Germany to live in Amsterdam, where they remained in hiding for two years before they were discovered. Sadly, Anne died in a concentration camp at age 15.
In her diary, Anne wrote: "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 shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more."
Anne Frank's diary became her confidante, her safe harbor where she could vent, relieve stress, and better understand herself and her world. Had she survived the Holocaust, she might have become the journalist she aspired to be or an activist, a social worker or maybe all three. We will never know, of course.
But in penning her experiences (and her father having the insight to publish her memoir), Anne gave the world a literary treasure, a truthful account that not only reveals a horrific era in history, but offers valuable life lessons in compassion, forgiveness, and hope.