Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo was my fourth book in the Nonfiction Five Challenge. I originally planned to read one nonfiction a month, but I got crazy in June and read three. This was a children's book and a quick read, but it certainly was powerful, making me appreciate the peaceful atmosphere we live in. It's one thing to live in fear of terrorists, but to live in a war zone is quite a different matter all together.
Zlata was eleven when she began writing in her diary. Soon after, was broke out in Sarajevo. The entries in her diary change from homework, music and friends, to cities being bombed, no water or electricity, and keeping track of family and friends as they flee or are killed. Even visiting relatives across town is dangerous due to the snipers and bombing. The entries continue for two years as Sarajevo is destroyed and Zlata's life becomes smaller and smaller. Nothing to do, nothing to eat, nowhere to go.
As a book, this was OK. Written by an eleven year old, telling about her life, it was rather repetitive. However, the book is still very powerful in giving an insider and child's view of living through a war zone. Not pretty. She is compared to Anne Frank, and she herself talks about being like Anne so from the beginning there is an awareness of writing about war. About three quarters of the way through, her diary began to be published, and I found it so strange that the journalists would come to interview her, bring her some food and then leave. Zlata and her family were left to listen to the bombs and try to find food, water and heat. Eventually, Zlata's family was removed from Sarajevo and the war did eventually end. I know Canadian peace keepers spent a while in Sarajevo and I would like to read more about what happened there. The Serbs, Croats and Muslims were fighting, killing each other and this is where Slobodan Milosovic (almost convicted of war crimes) spread his good cheer. So much to learn about. This nonfiction challenge is just adding to my reading list.