Aidan Chambers

Anne Frank’s Diary appears “almost like a character” in Aidan Chambers novel Postcards from No Man’s Land (HarperCollins. 2002). He lives in England.

I was a boy in my mid teens when I came across The Diary of Anne Frank. I knew nothing about Anne, but already had a taste for diaries and an unrequited hankering for a girlfriend. As soon as I started reading it and realized what was happening to Anne, a childhood experience added itself to my feelings about her book. One day in April 1945, I was sitting in a cinema when the Newsreel came on. It showed British troops entering Belsen. I regard this moment as the end of my childhood. I knew what Anne and her family were trying to avoid; I knew what kind of death she had suffered. I read her book with more attention than I had ever read anything before. I also fell in love with her. Because of her terrible end and the status—almost that of an icon—that she has acquired, people don’t see, or prefer not to see, what a sexy young woman she was. Sexy in the best sense. Physically vivid, mentally acute and sharp, incisive in her understanding, especially of herself, questing and passionate. How could a teenage boy not fall in love with a girl who could write herself into the pages of a book with such clarity?