43 Following

A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 40/100: Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo - Zlata Filipović, Janine Di Giovanni, Christina Pribichevich-Zoric

I'm glad this book exists -- I'm glad that Zlata wrote her experiences, that she survived the war, and that her diary provides a glimpse into war through the eyes of a child. I hope that chronicles like this will make the adults in charge think twice before they start blowing things up.

At the time, Zlata was often referred to as the "Anne Frank of Sarajevo," but the comparison isn't really apt. Yes, both girls were around the same age, writing about war, and allowing their writing to be published. But Anne Frank was a much more precise, detailed record-keeper than was Zlata, whose diary reads more like a "typical" adolescent's diary, with lots of telling instead of showing, multiple exclamation points used for emphasis rather than just the right words, etc. I don't want to come across like I'm judging an 11-year-old's writing as if she is an adult. She's a good 11-year-old writer, and her diary is valuable for the human face it brings to political suffering. But it seems Zlata never really understood the political reasons for the war, and so the reader has to go elsewhere for that as well. Still, I think she did a good thing for herself, her family, and the world when she decided to keep and share her experiences, and I'm glad that her story had a much happier ending than Anne Frank's (although I don't think any story touched by war can ever really be characterized as "happy.")