Watching the latest BBC adaptation of The Dairy of Anne Frank with my 13 year old daughter is both nostalgic and poignant. It brings the memories flooding back. Annes experiences as a girl on the brink of womenhood, her difficult relationship with her mother and her intense feelings for Peter, had a profound effect on me as a teenager and inspired me to write a diary.
As a child my views on girls and women were defined by books; Jo in Little women, What Katy did, Malory Towers and St Clares, George from the Famous Five and Anne of Green Gables were all firm favourites as a child. Girls were strong, witty and plucky, often having to emulate boys to compete with them, but more than likely outwitting them. They were multi tasking feminists, who used instinct and compassion and great role models.
In the 70’s Myra from the Women’s Room defined a whole generation of women (where do you think we got our name from!) and we finally felt a little sympathy for our mothers.
Todays girls seem less influenced by books and tend to display their emotions and thoughts on their MySpace pages for all to see. Yet there is something special about the privacy and secrecy of keeping a diary and it seems the power of great writing transcends generations. When watching the latest Anne Frank, my non-reading, net gen, MySpace addict daughter remarked ‘I think I might start a diary.’