Man’s Search For Meaning, written by psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl, is a classic Holocaust memoir and treatise which chronicles the author’s experience in concentration camps, as well as the experiences of the patients he treated after the war. This revised edition for young adults is meant to introduce young people to Frankl’s work and concepts in a manner appropriate for their age group and developmental level.
In his work, Frankl describes the mental stages inmates go through. His major thesis centers around the idea that those who survive a traumatic experience (such as being an inmate at a concentration camp) feel they have a task they need to complete.
The book includes a foreword by noted young adult author John Boyne, and an afterword by William J. Winslade in which he discusses Frankl’s life and his lifetime work known as logotherapy, a system of thought based on a search for meaning in life after traumatic experiences. The book also includes selected writings by Frankl, a glossary, a chronology of Frankl’s life, and other material about the Holocaust.
This book, while fascinating for those who are interested in the subject matter, may not hold the interest of the general young adult reader. However, those ages 14 and up who have a bent for philosophy, psychology and/or the Holocaust will find much to think about and discuss with parents, teachers and group leaders. The Holocaust history is well handled and described and presents an excellent historical picture without being unduly lurid or overly frightening. This book would be valuable in a number of educational settings and is also recommended for the perusal of teachers and administrators.