“Zlata’s Diary” is the diary of Zlata Filipović and details her life one year before the Bosnian war began, all the way until her evacuation and her brief time in France as a refugee. Filipović’s life was nothing short of perilous. She risked nearly being killed, having to worry daily about her mother dying due to snipers, and the constant stream of news that told them about the death of their relatives.
The siege of Sarajevo lasted nearly four years, from April 6, 1992 to Feb. 26, 1996 and was orchestrated by the infamous war criminal, Ratko Mladić. He is primarily known for the Srebrenica Massacre. The number killed during the siege is highly debated–some say a few thousand were killed and others contend that over 10 thousand lives were taken.
The book is interesting as it is written through the eyes of a 13 year old girl and offers a first-hand glimpse into the siege. Zlata offers a glimpse into the daily life of Sarajevo compared to her parents who often saw the violence of the city during their trips around the city.
The entries are often short and provide a brief summary. Most notably the dangers and brutalities of the siege is covered in detail later in the book. The most notable part of the writing is the beginning, “Dear Mimmy” and the end with “Your Zlata” or some other variation.
At times, it is awkward to read, especially since she covers how the market got bombed and then somewhat abruptly ends with a lighter mood. Or her energetic entries which might end with a simple “Zlata”.
The writing is simple and is translated from a different language, which is most likely the reason the writing is slightly awkward and simple. Along with the fact that it’s written by a 13 year old. The content is good most of the time and can be quite captivating.
Often compared to the Diary of Anne Frank, I would recommend it to those who enjoyed reading her story.
Overall, I would rate this 7/10 Greenfields. The book is good overall; however, it has its flaws which can make it awkward to read.