Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA graphic firsthand look at the war in Sarajevo by a Croatian girl whose personal world has collapsed, this vivid, sensitive diary sounds an urgent and compelling appeal for peace. Filipovic begins her precocious journal in autumn 1991 as a contented 10-year-old preoccupied with piano and tennis lessons and saturated with American movies, TV shows, books and rock music. Soon the bombs start falling; her friends are killed by shrapnel or snipers' bullets; her family's country house burns down, and they subsist on UN food packages, without gas, electricity or water, as thousands of Sarajevans die. Filipovic, whose circle of friends included Serbs, Croats and Muslims, blames the former Yugoslavia's politicians for dividing ethnic groups and playing hell with people's lives. She and her parents escaped to Paris, and her diary, originally published in Croat by UNICEF, was reissued in France and has already been much written about in the U.S. Photos not seen by PW. 200,000 first printing; film rights to Universal; first serial to Newsweek; author tour (Mar.)
The ALAN Review - Joan F. KaywellWhen Zlata Filipovic, "the Anne Frank of Sarajevo," began her diary entries on September 2, 1991, her life was typical of many eleven-year olds. She enjoyed watching MTV, vacationing with her family, going out for pizza, playing the piano, and going to school. Even after the bombing of Dubrovnic, war was something too far away to be real, believable, or concerned about. By the time she ended her diary entries on October 13, 1992, war was very real and life was anything but typical: a wrapped tomato was the "nicest `bouquet' she ever got"; rationed electricity was both a blessing and a curse; and the dead, wounded, and constant bombings were a part of her daily existence. Referring to the Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim warlords as "kids," Zlata frequently remarks how she-ironically-has lost her childhood forever. Although Zlata's writing skill is reflective of her age, readers may find it useful to chart names and refer to maps to assist with their reading.
Library JournalIn September 1991, at the beginning of a new school year and while war was already as close as Croatia, Filipovic, a ten-year-old girl in Sarajevo began keeping a diary about her school friends, her classes, and her after-school activities. The following spring that childhood world disappeared when the war moved to Sarajevo. Instead of school and parties, her world came to consist of cowering in cellars during the shelling, trying to survive despite intermittent electric power and water supply, and sadness: sadness when friends and relatives left the besieged city for a safer area; sadness when those who remained behind were killed; sadness that her childhood had vanished. Filipovic has no interest in the politics of this war (she dismisses all political leaders contemptuously as ``kids'') but only in its effects on those close to her. The power of her book lies precisely in its concern with innocence lost. Recommended for popular collections.-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
School Library JournalYA-From September 1991 through October 1993, young Zlata Filipovic kept a diary. When she began it, she was 11 years old, concerned mostly with friends, school, piano lessons, MTV, and Madonna. As the diary ends, she has become used to constant bombing and snipers; severe shortages of food, water, and gas; and the end of a privileged adolescence in her native Sarajevo. Zlata has been described as the new Anne Frank. While the circumstances are somewhat similar, and Zlata is intelligent and observant, this diary lacks the compelling style and mature preceptions that gave Anne Frank's account such universality. The entire situation in the former Yugoslavia, however, is of such currency and concern that any first-person account, especially one such as this that speaks so directly to adolescents, is important and necessary. While not great literature, the narrative provides a vivid description of the ravages of war and its effect upon one young woman, and, as such, is valuable for today's YAs.-Susan H. Woodcock, King's Park Library, Burke, VA
Donna SeamanZlata Filipovic of Sarajevo began keeping her diary in 1991, just before her eleventh birthday. Ebullient and accomplished, Zlata recorded the swirl of activities she avidly pursued, from school to piano lessons, skiing, parties, and watching her favorite TV shows, all American. We immediately sense that Zlata and her family have a deep love for their country, but just as we begin to enjoy Zlata's fine young mind and cheerful disposition, the chaos and terror of war shatter her world. Schools close, socializing becomes too risky, and what was once a cozy home is transformed into a fragile shelter bereft of electricity or water. In spite of great tragedy and deprivation, Zlata keeps making her lucid diary entries, carefully chronicling the claustrophobia, boredom, resignation, anger, despair, and fear war brings. Another birthday passes, and Zlata's observations become even sharper and more searing. The convoys of fleeing citizens remind her of movies she's seen of the Holocaust; she notices that grief and hardship have made her valiant parents haggard and sorrowful; and she can't believe that her clothes no longer fit. How could she be growing when she has so little to eat? With a precision and vision beyond her years, Zlata writes that the "political situation is stupidity in motion," and more hauntingly, "life in a closed circle continues." Zlata brings Sarajevo home as no news report can. Her diary was first published by UNICEF, then released in France; U.S. serial rights have gone to "Newsweek", and Zlata and her parents will be visiting here this month.
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