Baker & Taylor Excerpts from the author's diary, begun when she was eleven, describes life in Sarajevo under siege
Blackwell North Amer In a voice both innocent and wise, touchingly reminiscent of Anne Frank's, Zlata Filipovic's diary has awoken the conscience of the world. Now thirteen years old, Zlata began her diary just before her eleventh birthday, when there was peace in Sarajevo and her life was that of a bright, intelligent, carefree young girl. Her early entries describe her friends, her new skis, her family, her grades at school, her interest in joining the Madonna Fan Club. And then, on television, she sees the bombs falling on Dubrovnik. Though repelled by the sight, Zlata cannot conceive of the same thing happening in Sarajevo. When it does, the whole tone of her diary changes. Early on, she starts an entry to "Dear Mimmy" (named after her dead goldfish): "SLAUGHTERHOUSE! MASSACRE! HORROR! CRIMES! BLOOD! SCREAMS! DESPAIR!" We see the world of a child increasingly circumscribed by the violence outside. Zlata is confined to her family's apartment, spending the nights, as the shells rain down mercilessly, in a neighbor's cellar. And the danger outside steadily invades her life. No more school. Living without water and electricity. Food in short supply. The onslaught destroys the pieces she loves, kills or injures her friends, visibly ages her parents. In one entry Zlata cries out, "War has nothing to do with humanity. War is something inhuman." In another, she thinks about killing herself. Yet, with indomitable courage and a clarity of mind well beyond her years, Zlata preserves what she can of her former existence, continuing to study piano, to find books to read, to celebrate special occasions - recording it all in the pages of this extraordinary diary.