This past week I dedicated my four hours of reading to two books that made me grateful for the life I have. The first one is a story we’ve all heard before and probably read in school at some point in time; “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”. Her story is written in letters to “Kitty”, her diary. As most of us know, the Franks were a Jewish family living in Germany. They were forced to go into hiding to escape the Nazis. Unfortunately, these cramped and stuffy conditions were the last months her family would ever all spend together. Their lives would end in the concentration camps, Anne’s just two months before they were liberated. Only her father would return home.
Reading this in the age of blogging made me wonder, if Anne had lived during a different time period, we may not have her story for all to read. Maybe we would find a flash drive with a video of her telling a webcam all about her life. I also couldn’t help but wonder what she would think of her diary being published. After all, she was just a teenager. How would fourteen year old you feel about the entire world having access to your inner most thoughts? Then again, I think Anne was a lot more mature than a lot of us are at that age.
The second story to make me take a long hard look at myself is the recipient of both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Printz Award. “The First Part Last” is told exactly the way the title says it is. The beginning of the book is actually the end of the story and, you guessed it, the end of the book tells us what happened in the beginning. Bobby, the speaker of the story, is a sixteen year old from the wrong part of town and is friends with trouble makers. What sets him apart is Feather, his daughter. Feathers mother isn’t mentioned for a large portion of the beginning. We learn her and Bobby were in the equivalent of love at fifteen when Nia finds out she’s pregnant. Their parents are noticeably frustrated and upset, but they support the couple in keeping the baby. Anyhow, most of the plot focuses on Bobby’s struggles as a single father. He is learning how to balance school, a social life and fatherhood. Every other chapter is a flashback and the chapters of the past tell how Bobby catered to Nia’s every need during pregnancy. He went to doctor’s appointments, brought her pizza at ten am and held her while she cried for reasons she didn’t know. In the end, we learn where Nia is the whole time after she has given birth to Feather.