The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This is a detailed account of the time her family spent in hiding during World War Two. This book will make you value your freedom and appreciate the luxury of being able to walk in the street without being captured. It is a wonderful piece of work and her positivity emanates through her words. There are some excerpts that make you feel as if you are reading an ordinary teenage girls diary and some that demonstrate the atrocity of living during such a horrific time. Towards the end of the book, it is evident that Anne is becoming more hopeful, which makes it even more heartbreaking when she suddenly stops writing. She is brutally honest, but also makes you realise just how powerful hope can be. There is a two-part series based on her diary available on YouTube, which I would recommend watching called ‘Anne Frank: The Whole Story.’ Here is Part One and Part Two. Miep’s account of events is also available in a book called ‘Anne Frank Remembered,’ where she details how she helped the family hide. I have yet to read this but she was living on the outside, and will have a different story to tell.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. This is an autobiographical story of Susanna’s time in a psychiatric ward. She details the other patients and provides you with an accurate insight into how the mental system works. If you enjoyed reading Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar,’ then you will love this. The most interesting thing was that Susanna’s case notes were included in the book. You are able to see her doctor’s notes and it was great to read about her condition from their perspective. Although the book does not take the customary form of a usual story; it is interesting because it almost demonstrates the fragmented mindset. This was also adapted into a film where a young Angelina Jolie plays a sociopath. Some of the most heartbreaking scenes from the film were not in the book, but I would wholeheartedly recommend watching and reading both forms.
Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake. This is set during the American Civil War and demonstrates the interaction of a lieutenant and a tribe of Native Americans. It is a beautiful story filled with romance, humour and unity. It was adapted into what is now one of my all-time favourite films, which portrays the story in the most graceful manner. The book is fascinating and historical; the film is scenic and captures some of the most beautiful interactions. The story was well-written and I found myself re-reading certain passages because of how exquisite they were. I love anything to do with the Native Americans because I have always been fascinated with their way of life. This book described it so accurately and I fell in love with the characters.
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It pained me greatly not to include an apostrophe in 'Tuesdays,' but the title is spelt that way and it felt wrong to change it. This is a memoir about the friendship between a student and his dying professor. This is one of the most heart warming pieces of work that I have read in a while; it is filled with enlightenment and wisdom. Reading this book feels like the moment when you talk to an elderly person and they tell you stories about their past, in fact, this is exactly what the book is. If you know someone that is suffering from an illness, this would make the perfect gift. It teaches one to look at things from a different perspective and to value the time that we have. It was a truly magnificent story and I know that I will be reading this over and over again. It has been a while since I felt this attached to a character but I just loved Morrie. I now find myself wondering during particular moments about what Morrie would do.