The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I'll just admit this right out here in the open: I never read a lot of that "required reading". I don't mean required reading like the selections chosen for you by teachers, but the books that every young person is supposed to read. I've discovered over the past few years that I just don't like being told what to do - and that translates to everything. So - I'm supposed to read The Diary of Anne Frank? Forget it. I've got better things to do. Great attitude, right?
Somehow I ended up with a copy of this book. I don't know how most books end up on my bookshelf, but I think I took this one from the last community house that I lived in, where past residents had left books behind. It was the perfect size to bring on my trip, and I've enjoyed pulling it out to read Anne's thoughts as she spent two years in hiding and growing up.
I don't think it would have surprised anyone if Anne had grown up to be a successful writer. At 13, her observations on interpersonal relationships and the personalities of others is remarkable. I'd like to chalk it up to living in isolation, therefore giving her a greater opportunity to read people, but she starts off from the very beginning of her diary as thoughtful, insightful, and inquisitive. By the time Anne turns 15, she has an outstanding ability to understand herself and her emotions.