Anne Frank in the Time of 13 Reasons Why

Social Commentary

Anne Frank in the Time of 13 Reasons Why

Illustration: Akshita Monga


first came upon the story of Anne Frank’s diary in a moth-laden Reader’s Digest that belonged to my grandmother. It was an interesting coincidence. I was 12 and mulling over the practicalities of keeping a diary that would brim with my secrets and all my unspoken angst.

No matter how time sweetens memory, I remember the first four years of being a teenager as an excruciating exercise in misery. In the self-aggrandizing mind of a pre-teen girl, the world was my concentration camp, and when I read about Anne Frank’s diary and how it came about, I felt a sense of kinship with this girl and the chronicles of her suffering. But it took me about two minutes into the preface, to feel thoroughly ashamed of my problems. It was the most humbling synopsis of the human experience, told by someone who was somewhere between the scale of naiveté and disillusionment, immersed in the harshest phase of our history and on the worst side of its consequences.