This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Polly Williams is the author of seven novels, including The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy and The Angel at No.33. Her new novel, Husband, Missing, is out on the 28 of March. Polly tells us why The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank had such a big impact on her.
I must have read this at the age of eleven or twelve and it changed the way I saw the world, and books forever. The diary didn’t feel like a book to me at all, it felt like the most important conversation of my life with a close friend. I'd never read anything like it. Anne’s voice is so extraordinarily alive on the page that it brought what until then had been a dark dry fact of history to vivid, terrifying life. I was in the secret annex with Anne, experiencing her claustrophobia, her joy, ambition, and toward the end, heartbreakingly, her despair.
Even whilst knowing from the outset that she didn’t survive, I desperately willed her to live all the way through the book, unable to believe that such a light could be snuffed out. I sobbed my heart out at the end. And still do. Partly it’s that contrast between the wryly intelligent, spirited Anne – she had all the best traits of an Austen heroine – and the brutal inhuman horror of Nazism that makes the book unforgettable. But it’s also her lightness of touch, her big heart and the sweet youthful energy of her writing.
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Many years later, now I’m a novelist, I’m in awe of Anne as a writer. What a rare brilliant talent. If she’d survived, who knows what she’d achieved? Anne’s story is one story among many from the holocaust but it’s hers that shines the brightest light into the darkest corners, a testament to both the indomitable human spirit and the brutal cruelty of man. Once read, never forgotten.