April 15, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo

Current Status
In Season
Zlata Filipovic
Memoir, Politics and Current Events
We gave it a B+

First the ”Anne Frank of Sarajevo” marketing of this journal came under fire. Now at least one publication has questioned the authenticity of certain entries. What both controversies obscure is that this remains the wartime diary of a frightened girl. With its short, chattery entries, Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo, may be a very young person’s diary-Zlata began writing it just before turning 11-but its immediacy is compelling. She writes about being lonely, afraid, and bored; about living without water, electricity, school, or friends; and about missing oranges and chocolate. She goes from being a kid, excited and happy about her 11th birthday, to becoming ”a child without a childhood.” Caught somewhere between anger and sweetness, this slim volume is a potent record of an ongoing war. B+

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