Like me, Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin read The Diary of Anne Frank as a kid - he was 9, he writes, and I was somewhere around the same age. I'm not sure how old I was, exactly, but when I read it I did not know what the word "Gestapo" meant. I didn't even know how to pronounce it (I thought the emphasis was on the "Gest.")
In any case, Glenn reacted a lot like I did. He writes: "I quailed with Anne during air raids, rebelled with her against another skimpy dinner of spoiled potatoes, put a sympathetic arm around her shoulders as she railed against the obtusely authoritarian rule of adults...and burst into unexpected and inconsolable tears at the final line of the diary's epilogue: In March 1945, two months before the liberation of Holland, Anne died in the concentration camp at Bergen Belson."
I reacted much the same way when I finished the book. Many years later, as an adult, I sat in the lobby and wept after walking through the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a sight I'm sure is not uncommon. I've never been able to laugh at David Sedaris' snarky essay about the place. Seeing the place where Anne lived and dreamed that people were essentially good was simply too emotional for me to mock.
Glenn writes about Sunday's Masterpiece Classic version of The Diary of Anne Frank and about how some cultural critics - including big names Cynthia Ozick and Frank Rich - consider the book "a cultural war crime." If you ask me, that's crazy talk: How many readers through the years were moved and deeply affected by this story?
Click here to read Glenn's compelling commentary on Anne Frank and her place in our history.