Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo (2024)

Steven Godin

2,581 reviews2,779 followers

June 4, 2019

I always find it difficult to rate diaries, especially that of a child, and you have to take into account diaries were never meant to be works of literature. This was a sweet, poignant, and sometimes devastating account of a young girl's thoughts recorded in a diary when she was caught up in the Bosnian war between 1991 and 1993. Zlata’s Diary consists of first-hand entries of her daily life and that of her family beginning in 1991, when her time was mostly normal and peaceful and fun, before the first bouts of violence broke out in her native Sarajevo when Serbian nationalists attack the city. There were some truly sad moments that did hit hard, but also some happier times earlier on. It's certainly a book that would likely go down better with school children that adults, and I can't use the excuse of feeling so much of Zlata's despair just to give this a higher rating. This particular version really wasn't that great. This is likely down to the publisher/editor who made a mockery of the real thing. It was at least interesting to see things from a child's perspective, but what I learnt of the war itself wasn't at all new to me.

    diaries-journals-letters history non-fiction

Fátima Linhares

614 reviews212 followers

August 25, 2022

"Será que a guerra vai acabar com o primeiro dia do Outono?
Fiquei tão desiludida com todos os cessar-fogo e todas as assinaturas de acordos precedentes que já não acredito neles. Não, não posso acreditar neles, pois hoje mesmo um obus custou a vida a um rapazinho de três anos e feriu a irmã e a mãe.
Tudo o que sei, é que os seus joguinhos fizeram em Sarajevo quinze mil mortos, dos quais três mil são crianças, cinquenta mil inválidos para o resto da vida, que vemos nas ruas com bengalas, em cadeiras de rodas e que não têm braços ou pernas. Sei também que já não há lugar nos cemitérios e nos parques para as novas vítimas.
Talvez por esta razão, esta loucura deveria terminar.

17/09/1993"

Descobri este diário na feira do livro cá da cidade, num alfarrabista, por 1€. Não sei bem o que me fez comprá-lo, mas veio comigo. Li-o com umas boas décadas de atraso, obviamente, pois a guerra da Bósnia já terminou há muito, mas as guerras nunca acabam, infelizmente.
Confesso que não sabia, e ainda não sei muito sobre este conflito, já que este diário foi escrito por uma criança que também não percebia muito bem a razão desta guerra. E quem consegue perceber as razões de uma guerra?

Lyn

1,919 reviews16.9k followers

July 6, 2022

First published in 1993, this war time diary kept by an eleven year old girl, drew instant comparisons to the inimitable journal kept by Anne Frank and published posthumously as a Diary of a Young Girl in 1947.

The child that we meet in this book is a precocious pre-teen who loves school and music and friends and laughter – like most girls her age. Zlata, though, lives in Sarajevo and experienced first-hand the atrocities visited upon this city in the early 90s.

Croats, Serbs and Muslims. Though only a child, Zlata understands right and wrong and much of what is happening to her world and why. Though the experiences of a child have left some reviewers cold, I found Zlata’s diary entries, titled “Dear Mimy” to be endearing and heartfelt. Her innocence observations and candid appraisals of what was happening around her were captivating.

Finally, this is after all a journal written by an adolescent and so her concerns for “Mommy and Daddy” were genuine and sincere, as is her concern for the world she lives in.

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo (4)

Ieva Andriuskeviciene

233 reviews121 followers

March 18, 2021


Zlata Filipovic 11 metė kuri gyvena įprastą vaiko gyvenimą pradėjusi savo dienoraštį (kurį pavadina Mimmy”) nesitiki, kad jos gyvenimas apsivers per kelias dienas. Sarajevas tapo atskirtas nuo viso aplinkinio pasaulio ir taps Sostine, ilgiausiai moderniojo karo istorijoje buvusia apgultyje. Blokada tęsėsi metus ilgiau nei visiems žinoms Leningrado. Šiuo metu žuvo 13952 žmonių, iš kurių 5434 civiliai.
Mokytoja parodė “Mimmy” Unicef darbuotojui, taip jis buvo paverstas į knygą ir Zlata tapo Bosnijos karo veidu. Karo kurį pasaulis tiesiog ignoravo kelis metus.
Ją lanko pasaulio žurnalistai, ABC news, britai, prancūzai. Jie nufilmuoja ir išvažiuoje. O Zlata lieka ten pat, kare. Be elektros, maisto tik su dienoraščiu
Reportažiuose ji lyginama su Ana Frank, bet pati sako, kad nenori lygintis. Nes bijo Anos likimo. Toks vaiko skausmas iš pirmų lūpų. Nepagražintas, Kartais primityvus, vaikšskas.
Iš kitos pusės kyla daug etiškumo klausimų. Ar tikrai žiniasklaida tiesiog nori parodyti kas vyksta, ar naudojasi vietinių skausmu savo naudai? Mergaitės kare legenda, Ana Frank prototipas, bet ji vietiek palikta 2 metus be jokių patogumų kartais ir maisto? Žurnalistų atneštą šokoladą ji kruoščiai aprašo. Knyga išėjo, viso pasaulio žiniasklaida važiavo ją filmuoti, o gyvenimo sąlygos nei kiek nepagerėjo? Kur knygos pelnas nuėjo? Gale paaiškėja, kad Pracūzai ilgai derėjosi dėl jos šeimos leidimo išvykti ir suteikti politinį prieglobstį. Kaip kiti Bosnijos vaikai? Kaip šiuolaikiniame pasaulyje įmanomas toks abejingumas. Klausimus keliu retoriškai nes ir po 30ies metų niekas nepasikeitė.

"I keep thinking that we're alone in this hell, that nobody is thinking of us, nobody is offering us a helping hand. But there are people who are thinking and worrying about us"

Zlata nori būti paprastu vaiku. Ilgainiui atbunka ir neberašo apie karą nes tiesiog prie jo priprato. Kas pradžioje labai gasdino, dabar tapo kasdienybe. Ji negali groti pianinu nes tas kambarys pavojingas, ji svajoja kada galės eiti į mokyklą.

"That's my life! The life of an innocent eleven year-old schoolgirl!! AND school girl without a school, without the fun and excitement of school. A child tree! without games, without friends, without the sun, without birds, without nature, without fruit, with out chocolate or sweets, with just a little powdered any of milk. In short, a child without a childhood. A wartime child."

Jai nesuprantamą pasaulį Zlata paverčia tarsi žaidimu, pavadina viską sau suprantamais vardais. “Friends in the hills”- snaiperiai, kurie tiesiog šaudo į atsitiktinius žmones. “Kids”- politikai kurie kalba apie taiką, bet žaidžia karą.

Ne, knyga nėra didelis literatūros šedevras. Tiesiog tikras vaiko gyvenimas jam nesuprantame pasaulyje. Jei turit tokio amžiaus vaikų, labai rekomenduoju jiems duoti paskaityti. Mane knyga būtų sužavėjusi tuo metu.

Gal kažkas skaitę rimtesnio, grožinio ar ne grožinio Bosnijos karo tema? Gal galit ką pasiūlyti? Ieškau knygų ne visai naujokams kurie nieko nežino apie šitą karą.
Kam įdomu, NBC reportažas apie Zlatą
https://youtu.be/VdI8NLZ4jHM
Zlata Filipovic baigė Oxfordo universitetą ir dirba su dokumentikos filmų kūrimu
Ir pabaigai, filmas kurį labai rekomenduoju, tieisogiai su knyga neturi sąsajų, bet apie Sarajevą. Nuostabus! Welcome to Sarajevo
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120490/

    books-i-have

Luke G

2 reviews4 followers

Read

September 21, 2007

April 17. We got the UN relief package today. YO BABY YO, as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air would say. Tried to watch Murphy Brown but the sound was drowned out by shelling (I know, MORE shelling!) and then the rabbit ears were exploded by a sniper's bullet. RUDE! Pepsi just came out with limited-edition cans with Linda Evangelista on them. I wish I could get one. I haven't tasted processed sugar in over five months.

Got an A in math, biology, and piano! The piano was exploded so had to mime the recital. Still, I only made two mistakes.

yrs,
Zlata

Zlata Filipovic actually comes across as a very bright and sensitive 11-year-old in her diaries, but the pop-culture references weirded me out. This text is like a mashup of Anne Frank and White Noise. Maybe I reacted this way because I was born the same time as her, and I was doing and watching and thinking many of the same things at age 11, minus cowering in the cellar during rounds of ethnic cleansing.

The most astonishing thing in reading this is that the causes of war and the motives of the warring factions were too convoluted for a very smart 11-yr-old to try to sort out, even as she was being victimized by those disputes. Unlike Anne Frank, where there is a sure sense of who the bad people are and what they want to do, violence here seems arbitrary and destined to continue forever—artillery is just bad weather that has moved in to stay.

Majeed Estiri

Author6 books510 followers

October 24, 2023

چون تقریبا بلافاصله بعد از خواندن کتاب با من به بوسنی می آیی این کتاب را خواندم اصلا نمیتوانم در ذهنم این دو اثر را با هم مقایسه نکنم.
هر دو اثر مملو از رنج کودکان بوسنیایی هستند که بیگناه مورد ظلم صرب های متجاوز قرار میگیرند و کسانی از نزدیکانشان را از دست میدهند و کودکی شان در معرض تباهی قرار میگیرد.
اما این دختر یعنی زلاتا خیلی خیلی بیشتر از آن دختر یعنی ادیتا مورد توجه رسانه های جهان قرار گرفته. چرا؟
اولا به خاطر اینکه خودش ذوق هنری بیشتری داشته و زیر بمباران صرب ها شروع به نوشتن خاطراتش آن هم به انگلیسی، کرده
ثانیا به خاطر اینکه از یک خانواده بسیار متمول تر بوده
ثالثا و مهم تر از همه به خاطر اینکه مسلمان نبوده! رسانه های غربی دنبال یک دختر غیرمسلمان میگشته اند تا او را با آنه فرانک قرینه سازی کنند.
ظاهرا همین مورد آخر است که باعث شده زلاتا در داستان حتی یک بار هم به تروریست های صرب ( که تک تیراندازهای شان مثل داعشی ها، مردم عادی سارایوو را هدف قرار می‌داده اند) لعنت نفرستد و فقط از بدی جنگ بگوید! انگار که مسلمانان بوسنی هم در شروع شدن جنگ و نسل کشی مقصر بوده اند!! البته احتمال میدهم که کتاب در دست ناشران غربی خوب پاکسازی شده و هیچ ایده مقاومت یا حتی مظلومیت، در آن به چشم نمیخورد.

به هر حال نگاه این کودک که دارد زیر شلیک خمپاره ها پا به نوجوانی میگذارد به همه جزییات زندگی مخصوصا مسئله تبعیض نژادی واقعا جالب است:

پنجشنبه ۱۹ نوامبر ۱۹۹۲
در میان تمام دوستانم اقوام و آشنایان هم صرب هستند هم کروات و هم مسلمان یعنی همه با هم یکی هستند. من قبلاً اصلاً نمی دانستم کی صرب است، کی کروات است و کی مسلمان. ولی حالا سیاست بازها شروع کردند به تفرقه انداختن بین آنها. آمده یک حرف «ص» گذاشته روی صربها، یک «م» روی مسلمانها و یک «ک» روی کرواتها و اینطوری آنها را از هم جدا کرده و برای
اینکار از قلم جنگ استفاده کرده اند. بدترین قلم.

نمیتوانم این را ننویسم که این روزها سرعت و گستردگی جنایات صهیونیستهای وحشی در غزه چنان بالاست که فکر نکنم هیچ نوجوانی بتواند حتی یک صفحه خاطره بنویسد :(

    1402 بوسنی

Dolores

62 reviews

April 8, 2008

There's not much you can say about this book. Wartime diaries are a very effective way of communicating what people suffer through on a daily basis. This book was clearly written by an intelligent and sensitive young woman. It was interesting to read her thoughts on being compared to Anne Frank--she didn't want to be compared to her since she didn't want to suffer the same fate. That to me was an insightful comment about people being more than just news items.

Leanna

246 reviews19 followers

September 5, 2007

Zlata’s Diary is literally Zlata’s diary. Zlata lives in Sarajevo and starts keeping a diary in September 1991, not long before her 11th birthday. She excels in school, enjoys fashion magazines, and watches Murphy Brown on television. Six months later, she is recording the tragedies of war.

Reading about war from a child’s perspective is an interesting experience. Zlata mentions politics several times, writing that “politics has started meddling around. It has put an ‘S’ on Serbs, an ‘M’ on Muslims, and a ‘C’ on Croats, it wants to separate them. And to do so it has chosen the worst, blackest pencil of all—the pencil of war which spells only misery and death” (97). Yet, she does not understand the significance politics plays in the war, never connecting the war with “ethnic cleansing.”

But because politics doesn’t shape or warp Zlata’s perspective, she can truly see and express how senseless war is. She records the death of friends, the destruction of her city; she suffers without electricity, gas, food, and water. Several times, she expresses anger and despair, writing “I really don’t know whether to go on living and suffering, to go on hoping, or to take a rope and just . . . be done with it” (130). Early on, Zlata asks the most profound question of all:

“God, is anyone thinking of us here in Sarajevo?” (85).

I am only three years older than Zlata. If I heard about Bosnia, if we talked about the war in school, I have no recollection. Most everything I know about the genocide I learned years later as an adult.

cathleen

12 reviews

April 14, 2008

melodramatically edited and ghost-written. zlata's diary may have been a poignant, emotional, and honest account of a girl during war-time, but opportunist publishers seeking to maximize the emotional impact and emphasize the precocious "from the mouths of babes" aspect of a book about war written by a child have added improbable narrative and skewed the prose in a falsely cathartic way. the editing and doubtful translation have created something maudlin and cheap in an effort to over-simplify and stream-line zlata's thoughts to create what the publishers wanted: a powerful and seemingly innocent protest and commentary on a horrible war. what would have been more powerful would have been letting zlata's true words speak for themselves without trying to force-feed us pacifism written for an audience the publishers seem to think would not have able to extract the message from the diary of a young girl without oversimplifying and narrowing the scope to heart-rending exclamations of fear and regret. what was so moving about that other diary of a young girl was that anne frank's coming of age and personality and details of her life were provided in context with her reflections on the war and how it affected her. her struggles with puberty, family, sexual identity were left intact for the reader to provide a complete portrait of a young girl growing up under extraordinary conditions. zlata's incidental and seemingly calculated details of her personal life seem too evenly spaced and balanced amongst her reflections on the war, almost as if added as padding to what is otherwise a basically falsely childish narrative of wartime, to make it seem more authentic and accessible.

Anarika

43 reviews13 followers

March 31, 2011

Why do I like this book so much? I really do.
Who is able to convene in this way all the pain, the tragedy and humanity and inhumanity of war, without any fancy shmancy false talk, without any presumptuousness, any falsity or hidden agenda? Simply by scanning the events that matter, from when you understand that this is different. It’s not fiction! This is 1st person singular non - fiction. Nothing’s invented. When this got to my brain, I cried… even though so many years have passed since I had the first chance to read it. Then it would have been just too much.
It is written with simple language, appropriate for an 11 – 12 year old little girl who happens to be living in Sarajevo between 1991 and 1993. She’s just like any other pre-teenager from the (Western?) industrialized rich world. She comes from a good, literate and cultured family, and therefore she can write and express herself fairly well for her age. But there is a difference, by the time you reach page 50, she won’t be anymore pre-teenager from the (Western?) industrialized rich world. Firstly because she’ll be demonstrating how mature she is or has become – her parents take care of what she eats, but her psychological strength will permit her to take care of them as well. Secondly, because by the time she celebrates her next birthday, her country will be light years away from the “civilized” Western rich world. It will be a totally different country, territorially split and divided and thorn into pieces, and sociologically wounded and crippled and light years away from the country it was in 1984 when the Winter Olympic Games were held in Sarajevo.
I read that her diary should be compared to other such diaries – Anne Frank comes to my mind – but I am not sure. She had probably read it herself. It’s so easy to feel connected to her, because even though I did not experience any of the hell she’s describing I can still understand, because I grew up in ex Yugoslavia, in Croatia. Her account is accurate and credible.
What she describes – writing, seeing friends, partying, dreaming - you did all that at her age as well, or maybe that’s what your kids, nephews, and nieces, cousins are doing now. But she’s also giving an account of all the miseries of that particular war…her family friends and members are Croatian and Muslim and Serbian…but “it’s the kids” who play at war. And when I think of the conditions they lived in - no water, no food, no places to bury your dead, I think of how amazing it is that they kept sane and human. Yes!

    memoir narrated-by-a-kid not-only-for-kids

HanjingW_C2

53 reviews25 followers

November 30, 2018

This story was so touching, yet so heartbreaking at the same time. The young girl who wrote this diary was in the Sarajevo war at the time. One of the main themes in this book, in my opinion, is how wars can change people. Zlata, the author, certainly changed in many ways. I can feel her hope diminishing as time went on and things went worse. Before the war, she wrote about school, friends, and wanting a pet, just like the rest of us. As an eleven-year-old, she sound very innocent and carefree. Then, the war erupted in her country. Everything she once loved was destroyed. Everything she once had was gone. Everything she once hoped for was out of reach. Her friends began to leave the country. One of them got shot and died. She suffered through so much, yet she was just a child. Hunger. Violence. Pain. However, even when there were no electricity in her house, no food in her cabinet, and no friend in her neighborhood, she stayed optimistic. She helped her family carry supplies when there were no food and water. She played with her cat when violence was going on outside her door. She played piano for joy when bombs were going off around the block. I value her courage and cheerfulness. As I read further into the book, I found out that not only is Zlata optimistic for herself, she was also encouraging her parents. Her dad was angry because he lost his job, and her mother worried for all of their relatives. Even though she was a child, Zlata was always there to comfort her parents and remind them of happiness. I realized that she was the same age as us when that happened. While we are convincing our parents to buy us things and arguing with them, this girl was supporting adults and taking care of her family. She changed so much, from a kid just like us to a mature girl with the ability to help others. She reminds me of a quote I read a few days ago: you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. Zlata proves that courage and strength doesn't relate to age, but much more to how you react to situations and how much you grow in a time of harshness.

Χριστίνα

208 reviews

September 16, 2018

Η αλήθεια είναι ότι δεν μπορώ να το κρίνω σα λογοτεχνικό έργο, γιατί δεν είναι τέτοιο. Πρόκειται για το ημερολόγιο ενός 11χρονου κοριτσιού, που βιώνει τον πόλεμο στο Σαραγιεβο στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 90' και καταγράφει τα όσα βιώνει. Ενα βιβλίο σκληρό και ρεαλιστικό, μέσα στην παιδικότητα και την αθωότητα της "συγγραφέως" του.

Ipsis

83 reviews36 followers

July 15, 2017

Zlata é uma menina surpreendente e encantadora.
Esta menina que escreve o seu diário em pleno teatro de guerra mostra-nos uma resignação sem precedentes.

Sempre positiva, sem medo da morte, sem chamá-la ou mencioná-la, vive cada dia acreditando sempre que a guerra acabará. Em nenhum momento acredita que poderá perecer nela.

Conhemos-lhe apenas um pequeno apontamento de desespero, num momento em que pensa acabar com a sua própria vida!

Poucos de nós reagiriamos a um cenário destes como esta menina reagiu.

Um relato real que nos mostra a beleza do mundo visto pelos olhos de uma criança, ainda que o mundo esteja a desabar à sua volta!

    my-library

Floor Flawless

536 reviews88 followers

November 17, 2018

Hartverscheurend om te lezen! Wel had ik zl nu en dan een beetje moeite met de schrijfstijl. Het is een kind, maar soms zaten er stukken bij wat ik qua taalgebruik totaal niet bij haar vond passen. Wellicht dat dit aan de vertaling kan liggen natuurlijk. Tijdens mijn opleiding hebben we bij het vak loopbaan en burgerschap meerdere lessen besteed aan de oorlog in voormalig Joegoslavië. Ik vind het nog steeds allemaal erg vaag wat daar gaande is geweest. Zoals Zlata zelf op een gegeven moment zegt: volgens mij doen die jongetjes maar wat.

    read-2018

Damla

34 reviews

September 26, 2016

Çocukluğumun ilk kitaplarından; bana nerede olduğumu unutturup savaşın göbeğine götüren, dünyanın acımasız gerçeklerini küçücük yaşta yüzüme çarpan, kaç kez dönüp okuduğumu sayamadığım, kanımı donduran yegane kitaplardan Zlata'nın Günlüğü. İlk okuduğumda Zlata'dan küçüktüm, o hep o yaşta kaldı ben büyüdüm ama kitabı elime aldığımda hissettiğim şeyler geçen yıllara rağmen hiç değişmedi. Kesinlikle herkes okumalı.

Bojan Ostojić

Author30 books47 followers

March 7, 2021

Potresno i potrebno. Od ove knjige se može osedeti. Ali nimalo gore napisano od drugih dečjih dnevnika koji nisu imali sreće da budu objavljeni u pravom trenutku. Ipak, Zlata je za korak ispred jer svom dnevniku prilazi svesna Ane Frank. Ta svest je, za divno čudo, ohrabruje da piše još iskrenije. Time me podseća na Mariju Baškircevu. A znate šta je najpotresnije od svega? Dnevnik, kojim se proslavila u svetu, još nema izdanje na maternjem jeziku.

    buvljački-ulov

Nat Hogle

3 reviews1 follower

January 15, 2017

extremely sad and heart breaking, but overall an amazing read.

Abril Camino

Author29 books1,692 followers

June 8, 2022

No aparece aquí la edición en español, pero es la que yo he leído (El diario de Zlata). Me lo he leído en dos días porque es muy fluido, pero sobre todo porque me ha fascinado. Es el relato de una niña bosnia en el Sarajevo de comienzos de los 90: desde su vida normal inicial al horror posterior de la guerra. Una suerte de diario de Ana Frank, aunque, por suerte, con un final diferente.

Theresa

316 reviews1 follower

December 19, 2018

It is very difficult to "rate" a book that is someone's personal diary. When writing a diary one is not usually thinking about telling and explaining everything in detail. It's a repository of one's thoughts and feelings. That is indeed what this book is....a place that an 11/12 year old girl went to write what she was feeling during the war that was tearing her homeland apart. Her city of Sarajevo was being bombed day and night.

I was very hesitant to give this book even 3 stars. Although let me make it very clear that hesitation was ONLY because I adore Zlata and feel she did a wonderful job conveying her thoughts. I think better than most 11 year old children would do. She was obviously very skilled with language and sharing her heart. Again, if I was judging this "book" on her alone it would be an easy 5 stars. However, that is not the criteria I'm using. There was something missing from this publication. It was very ineffective as a simple publishing of her words alone. There needed to be some editing and explanation accompanying the diary. I know that many who read this will be lost. They will not understand (or care to understand) the history and backdrop of her diary. I think the publishers really should have thought of that and added commentary and history. Unfortunately, they did not and therefore I feel like the book was of little consequence to most people. I cringe saying that. I'm not saying her words were not important, nor heartfelt. Not at all!! I mean the PUBLICATION was of little consequence and failed miserably to educate anyone who picked it up.

3* / 3.78*

    2018-challenge eastern-european-setting-or-plot

Lexi

90 reviews1 follower

June 4, 2011

I feel bad for not really liking this book... It is a diary of a girl in Sarajevo in the 90's during the Bosnian War.. Don't get me wrong, the diary is interesting, but I was hoping for something deeper and more descriptive.. You know.. Like Anne Frank. The entries are very repetitive, Bombing. Shooting. No electricity.. She didn't really go in to details about herself, or describe the house, or really any details at all.. I think the real greatness of this book is that at the time it brought a voice to the conflict and made people more aware of what was going on. I think that continues to be it's strength. Otherwise I wouldn't have gotten on Wikipedia and looked for more information about this war that happened when I was nearly the same age as Zlata but never learned about in school (even with a BA in History.. I guess there are just too many wars to cover).

    non-fiction young-adult

Apryl Anderson

881 reviews32 followers

May 8, 2017

It was interesting to revisit this 23 years on; the more things change, the more they stay the same, and all the more occasion to repeat the phrase. What will come out of Syria? Has the "Anne Frank of Aleppo" already been found, and how soon until the world gobbles up her words? What do we do with the cry of the heart? Who can answer? Who can save? Who can stop the "kids" at play when the children are caught up in the violence? This book makes me angry and disconsolate at my own lack of power, yet I appreciate that it needed to be written and remembered.

    biographies-memoirs

Michelle

1,312 reviews52 followers

June 14, 2015

This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!

*3.5 star rating*

As you're reading this review, you'll most likely be suspecting that this is very much like Anne Frank's story. And this is not fiction, either, so don't make some masterful plan to prove me wrong, hah. *jokes* But I must say that Zlata's Diary cannot utterly even try to compete with Anne's diary at all, since this lacked so much, and had too much that took out the innocence and realism that it was supposed to bring.

Zlata Filipović was a young girl, too. But really, I'd like you to keep in mind that I'm not here to actually compare this diary to anything else, though Zlata did speak of allusions of Anne Frank and how people even told her that she was like her. So is that saying that if I wrote a diary and got it published, am I the new Anne Frank? No one can compare to Anne, a historical figure who went through so much to prevent hate and war, though she never got her wish fulfilled until after she passed away. I'm kind of debating why am I going to have to compare Anne's work and Zlata's work together for my English exam's essay. But yet again, there are so many contrasts that I'll surely go through. It's a win-win match.

"War is no joke, it seems. It destroys, kills, burns, separates, brings unhappiness."

The author begins writing her diary as a hobby, something to keep a track of her life and days that go by. She's a happy, innocent eleven-year-old who's misfortunately struck with the horrid events of the Bosnian war, one that just took place within the country. There were no bombs set because a country was battling them, it was all unluckiness, fate that simply destined her family and the other individuals of Sarajevo to have to go through this all. And here we have a diary that reminds everyone of the conflicts that were occurring not too long ago, closer to modern day than the Holocaust did.

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo (22)

I picked this diary up, thinking that the only reason why I decided to read it was because I was forced to by my English teacher. That sometimes is the situation and reason. And then, here I am, realizing that I've never heard of this book before, and it's something that would've interested me since I was a young girl. Having to put myself in the shoes of a young girl very much like me who was unlucky with her life and spent years fighting for survival seems like the thing that would've made me happy... when I was also eleven. Don't you think that one can better connect to the writer/protagonist if they're the same age, or possibly even stuck in the same situation? (Not that I was.)

There are many things that one can discuss with the subject of this diary. I bet that there are tons of things that even Zlata herself hadn't realized she was writing about until someone else mentioned it to her. Isn't that unique, you say? Yes, it truly is, since everyone can have a different viewpoint on her story, and if something was symbolism or smacked with the use of literary devices to brighten up it all. But I'm against all of the structural devices, my friends. This is a memoir, a life. It happened the way it happened and nothing is meant to be analyzed by the looks of writing. Personification? Parallelism? That seems like a joke (again speaking of my English class).

So as for the way it was written, I'd probably give the plot a 4 star rating. If it wasn't for Zlata's age at the time she had written this, I'd probably would've given it a 5. But I couldn't keep the thoughts of this being translated out of my mind. An eleven year old can't write like this, talking about the way a candle's light means something to her. I apologize, it's just, it seemed unrealistic, and I wished it stayed with simpler sentences and grammar, even though it was meant for a more mature audience. And with that said, I found myself drifting in and out of the book, becoming bored constantly since I wanted it to sound real, like Anne's did.

"How can you come to love an animal! She doesn't talk, but she speaks with her eyes, her paws, her meows, and I understand her."

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo (23)

Where was the character relationships of Zlata and her parents? I literally felt tears building up inside of me because I couldn't seem to find something special about their relationship. Maybe Zlata's father was a little more caring than the mother, but it all seemed to be about survival on their own and stubbornness. I can't even discuss that without feeling some kind of dislike towards her parents, who should really seek more love to come out of their only child, a young girl who's stuck in the worst possible situation of her time. Teach her how to love! By the way, I'm not trying to teach a lesson to no one here.

A lot of my friends who also read this book for class admit that they hate Zlata—she's annoying and whatsoever. I HAVE TO DISAGREE. Zlata was cute, intelligent and reckless, she's a kid! Aren't kids supposed to be annoying, I tell them? The positive vibe she had coming off of her only made me love her more, and she was the perfect role for writing this call, to inform individuals about her life, although she hadn't known that people would begin to read it eventually. That's what happens to the people who become famous for something that seemed like a regularity for them, they just don't expect it. That's the special compassion that they all share.

All in all, I see this as a memoir that can teach anyone, young or old, to see the bad things coming, even when you least expect it. This memoir's vibe may come to you as something cliché, especially by looking at its title, but I mostly see it as something that I'm glad to have read. With struggling moments that will leave you tearing up, hearing the characters stress and trying to see the positive sides of life, this can definitely leave you seeing that it mostly has it all. Forget about my negative comments and you surely will be able to give this a perfect ten rating. Go and live with this book, seek a new viewpoint on struggle.

    2015 death-sickness expected-better

Will

484 reviews1 follower

October 23, 2021

‘Ik heb een verbrand, verwoest vaderland, een kapotgeschoten stad, vrienden die als vluchtelingen over de hele wereld verspreid zijn… Maar gelukkig heb ik jou nog, Mimmy, het lijntjespapier dat altijd stil en geduldig op me wacht tot het moment waarop ik het mijn droeve gedachten toevertrouw.’

(Gelezen voor master Jeugdliteratuur)

Mary Louise

226 reviews41 followers

January 23, 2012

Zlata's Diary is the true story of Zlata Filipovic, a young girl who lived and suffered through the terrible siege in Sarajevo in the early 1990s. She received this diary before the siege began, and it's striking to see the difference in her writings from before and during the war. Before the siege, she was like any ordinary 5th grade girl- she studied, did well in school, took music lessons, watched television shows, and enjoyed family vacations. After the siege, her diary takes a turn to delve into the horrors of her newfound existence. She has such strength and such poignancy as she tells her story to her Mimmy (the name she'd given to her diary); it was often shocking to me that she was 11 and 12 years old as she wrote this diary. Powerful, heartbreaking recollections of a girl who was witness to her beloved city being destroyed. One particular moment in the book struck me. On January 26, 1993, she writes: "Mimmy, I've noticed that I don't write to you anymore about the war or the shooting. That's probably because I've become used to it. All I care about is that the shells don't fall within 50 meters of my house, that we've got wood, water, and, of course, electricity. I can't believe I've become used to all this, but it seems I have. Whether it's being used to it, fighting for survival or something else, I don't know." How tragic that Zlata was forced into getting used to snipers, shells flying, and war as her every day existence. I don't doubt that it was her focus on survival that led her to getting used to this existence, but how tragic that she- and any child of war- had to get used to this kind of horror, this kind of ruthless violence. As I finished the book, I realized something that I was surprised I hadn't thought of when I started reading. Zlata is only 11 months older than me. After I finished this book, I imagined myself and my life at the same time she was writing this diary and I was thinking to myself about how incredibly strong she was. She is a survivor (she and her family were able to escape to France shortly after the last entry in this diary was written), and her diary lives on as a reminder of what that siege did to Sarajevo. Many were lost, much was destroyed, but Sarajevo lives on. This book is a reminder that though it came close to total destruction, Sarajevo also survived.

    2012

Destiny

26 reviews

June 7, 2009

Zlata’s Dairy
Filipovic, Zlata

“A blast of gunfire!” doesn’t that sound scary. Have you ever heard gunfire before? If you have how does it sound? Did it sound loud and annoying or did it sound nice and peaceful? I think it probably sounded loud and annoying.

Zlata’s Dairy about a girl named Zlata Filipovic whose child life was ruined by a war in Sarajevo. Before the war started in Sarajevo, Zlata was living a great life. She took a lot of classes. She took music class, solfeggio class, tennis lessons, English lessons and choir practice. The war in Sarajevo took all of that away from Zlata. The war in Sarajevo also destroyed a lot of people lives. Some people lost there arms and legs. Even though you have never experienced being in a war, Zlata’s Dairy makes it really realistic for you to experience it with her.

Zlata’s Diary (which she calls Mimmy) is also about events that happened in the mist of the war. It talks about Zlata’s dad Malik, Zlata’s mom Alica, and Zlata herself had to do to survive through this war without any gas, without any water, and with the electricity that kept on going off and on. The war in Sarajevo ruined Zlata’s grandmother and Zlata’s grandfather lives. This war also ruined a lot of other people’s lives mentally, through the separation between parents and their children and through separation between husbands and wives. During the war people became selfish by escaping Sarajevo by their self leaving behind their children and their husbands.

Zlata Filipovic did a terrific job writing about all the feelings and the experiences she went through during the war. It helped realize that wars are very destructive. Just think about every single war that is happening right this second is destroying a child’s life. It is stopping their education, which is stopping their dreams of becoming anything they wanted to be. That is sad and disturbing and for Filipovic to safely make it through the war and being able to tell us her experience is a blessing.

    9th-grade-bookshelf

Audra

1 review

December 16, 2014

"Zlata's Diary" is about an eleven year old girl living with her parents during a war in Bosnia (Sarajevo). "Zlata's Diary" is similar to "The Diary of Anne Frank." Both take place during a war, but Anne's was timed way before Zlata's was. And Anne died, Zlata didn't. Before the war started, her diary consisted of Birthday Parties, friends, school, piano lessons, and being able to go out and play without having to worry about a shell falling on their heads. But when the war started, she started to write about how many shells fell that day, how long the shootings lasted, how many friends and family died, and food shortages.
They spent most of their time in the wet, stinky cellar. Through all this, Zlata knew that she had to stay confident so that she wouldn't worry her parents. At age 11, she shouldn't have to experience war. She should be out, making new friends, spending her time with friends, and being free. But because of politics, she couldn't get any of that. Politics try to separate Croats, Muslims, and Serbs.

Rosamund Taylor

Author1 book172 followers

February 15, 2018

I read this book several times as a child and it's interesting to reread it as an adult. This remains a powerful and moving account. Zlata is very young when she begins writing: barely 11, and she doesn't understand or care about politics. Her life is depicted as a happy and privileged one until the war in Bosnia comes to Sarajevo. What's notable about this account is Zlata's age and the things she picks up on: the physical details of living through a siege, such as lack of food and light, and the constant bombardment of noise or fear. She doesn't have feelings about the politics of the situation, other than that she wants the war to stop. There is something deeply affecting and universal about her account because it focuses so much on the day-to-day life and the small details of the neighbourhood. This book remains fiercely relevant not only because the situation in Bosnia continues to be unstable, but because it gives us a humane and vivid account of the lives of so many children living in war. I'm glad I reread it.

    memoir

Kristin

1,007 reviews8 followers

December 7, 2013

I've had this book since I was 10 (29 now) but had not read it. Having completed it, I am glad I waited until this era of the internet so I was able to find out what happened to Zlata after the book ends. The ending is very abrupt, I just turned the page and the only printing that followed was a note that this edition was printed specifically for schools. I suppose that is always a possibility when it is a diary being printed, especially a diary of a living person during a current event, as I imagine the publisher wanted to get Zlata's writing to readers while the war in Sarajevo was still being fought.
Sarajevo isn't really talked about much these days, I'm not sure if that's because the area is still volatile but Irag and the Middle East get more headlines or if in the overall grand scheme of things, the conflict ranks as a relatively minor one. I remembered very little of it when I read the book. I'm sure we discussed the situation at the time in school, but as kids, we'd never heard of Bosnia and probably couldn't have found it on a map, so I'm sure most of the details were left out of what we learned.
Unfortunately for Zlata, who was barely older than me at the time, she did know all the details because she lived them and noted them in her diary. You can tell it was written by a kid, as there are random interjections like you would see on notes (or texts these days) passed from one child to another, but it was interested to see what her priorities were. Birthday parties were major events, even if the celebrants had already left town, and Zlata treasured friendships with whoever was around at the time. It seemed odd to me that practically everyone Zlata knew was able to leave Sarajevo, but only once did she mention any attempt by her family to leave, a caravan that was too full to take them. I thought perhaps the book would end when Zlata emigrates, but that didn't occur. Instead, it just stops, with Zlata writing about preparing for another birthday and Christmas season at war. Perhaps a later edition does include an aftermath.
Overall, not a bad book, and an interesting look at war from a child's perspective. I just wish it would have felt more complete in the ending.

Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

2,113 reviews217 followers

January 13, 2017

I'm really not ready to review this just yet. I'm still digesting.
1991-93 were years of tremendous upheaval in my own life, so all I really remember of the war in Sarajevo and surroundings was that you couldn't get a world map for love nor money here in my city (I was told things were changing too fast, they weren't being printed until the map printers found out what was where and who it belonged to). And that the conflict seemed to go on forever. Like I would know--I wasn't there. Zlata was.

Zlata disliked being compared to Anne Frank, in part because she didn't want to share Anne's fate. She didn't. Unlike Anne, she and her parents were eventually airlifted to Paris to promote her diary and meet with journalists etc.

I may be able to say something more coherent about this later. I've read Anne Frank's diary repeatedly over the years, so I may come back to Zlata at a later date. What broke my heart was when French journalist Alexandra, after talking for some time to her mother, asks Zlata, "And how are you?" Zlata responds: "I'm all right. I have to be all right."

ETA: the parallels the media kept trying to draw with Anne Frank. To me they are totally different on so many levels. But maybe that's my age showing. What hit me was remembering what my life here was like during the Sarajevo conflict, and how the news from there was interwoven in my daily prayer. DH would be watching the news and I'd be doing stuff in the flat and suddenly realise I was praying for what I heard. As I often told him when he asked what was up, "It started without me." I was weird like that in those days. I'm not anymore; whether that's an improvement or not, I cannot say.

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Sepinood Ghiami

130 reviews42 followers

June 2, 2018

اول از همه بگم‌ که کتاب، در اصل، لیاقت ۴ ستاره داشت، ولی ارزشش برای من، همون ۳ ستاره بود:

یک. این کتاب، نمیدونم چرا، از سال ۷۳ که پرویز علمایی توسط نشر نی، چاپش کرده، دیگه تو ایران چاپ نشده؛ با این‌که کتاب ِ خیلی معروفی هست تو دنیا، و "من ملاله هستم" ِ زمان ِ خودش بوده.

دو. ترجمه‌ی کتاب شسته-رفته بود نسبتا، اما بزرگترین مشکلش این بود که مترجم به خودش زحمت نداده بود که بعضا، پاورقی‌های بیش‌تری برای آشنایی ِ مخاطب ایرانی با مسائلی که در کتاب مطرح می‌شه بذاره. کتاب می‌تونست حاوی اطلاعات سیاسی، تاریخی و فرهنگی ِ جالب ِ توجهی باشه، ولی متاسفانه ترجمه‌ی فارسیش، از خوندن ِ خاطرات ِ یک دختر بچه، در دوران ِ جنگ، فراتر نرفت.

سه. خود ِ کتاب، و ایده‌ی چاپ ِ دفتر ِ خاطرات یک کودک ِ ۱۱ ساله، جالب بود. این‌که در اروپا و جنگی که همین اواخر اتفاق افتاده، چه تجربه‌ای از کشور ِ جنگ‌زده وجود داره، جالب‌ترین وجه ِ قضیه برای من بود، و سه ستاره رو هم به همین علت دادم. گرچه در اکثر ِ موارد نیاز به اطلاعات ِ بیشتری داشتم، و نیاز به پیش زمینه‌ی قوی‌تری که یک مقدمه‌ی قوی‌تر می‌تونست برام بسازه. بنابراین، در عین ِ حال که شنیدن ِ این مسائل از دید ِ یک کودک، احتمالا ایده‌ی جالبیه، ولی ترجیح ِ شخصیم، خوندن ِ خاطرات ِ یک بزرگسال بود در همین موضوع. به همین علت، ستاره‌ی چهارم رو ندادم.

چهار. از دغدغه‌های جالبی که شرایط ِ جنگی برای یک کشور ِ اروپایی داشت، رسیدن ویتامین به بدنشون، ادامه‌ی درس و مشق ِ موسیقیایی، رسیدگی به حیوون ِ خونگی و "سشوار کردن ِ موها بعد از حمام" رو میتونم نام ببرم :)) بخونید کتاب رو، میبینید که چه قدر در کنار ِ نون ِ شب و امنیت، دغدغه‌های این چنینی بینشون وجود داره، و چه تجربه‌ی متفاوتیه بین ِ سوریه‌ی جنگ زده و یوگسالاوی ِ (سابق) ِ جنگ زده.

و در آخر: اگر خوندید، این لینک تصاویرِ جاهایی که زلاتا در جای جای ِ کتاب ازشون صحبت می‌کنه رو نشونتون می‌ده:

https://youtu.be/u0kfeo-S_8w

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo (2024)

FAQs

What is the main idea of Zlata's diary? ›

Zlata Filipović was given a diary in September 1991, when she had just begun fifth grade, and wrote from 1991 to 1993 during the Bosnian war, which began just before her eleventh birthday. Zlata's diary chronicles her daily life and the war's increasing impact on her home town of Sarajevo.

Did Zlata survive the war? ›

This courageous, intelligent young woman has been called "the Anne Frank of Sarajevo" for her searing account of war's effects, but her story has had a happier ending. Readers will be relieved to know that Zlata survived the war and moved to France with her family.

How is Zlata's diary different from a fictional story? ›

In conclusion, Zlata's Diary differs from a fictional story in that it is a factual, firsthand account of the author's experiences during the Bosnian War, whereas a fictional story is a creation of the author's imagination, designed to entertain, inform, or convey a message through made-up characters and events.

Why did Zlata's diary become more than a place to record daily events? ›

When the Bosnian war started with all its horrors and disrupted my happy and carefree childhood, my diary became more than a place to record daily events.

How does Zlata's diary end? ›

On December 23, the family departs. Though overjoyed to leave the chaos, Zlata remains deeply saddened for her friends, family, and country left behind, and the diary ends with a question mark, as she does not know what the future holds.

Why were Zlata and her father afraid for Zlata's mother's life? ›

Answer and Explanation:

Zlata and her father afraid for Zlata`s mother`s life because she had to take on the dangerous task of retrieving water from across town after Zlata's father was diagnosed with a hernia.

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