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Review of Annexed by Sharon Dogar

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Annexed

Annexed

If you’ve read Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, you’ll know who Peter van Pels was. This is an interesting book, as it’s told through Peter’s point of view. It’s different in many ways, as we’re all used to reading through Anne Frank.

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?  In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view.  What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her?   Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together.   To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day?   What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution?  Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.  As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?  Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps.  He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants. (From Amazon.ca)

Just reading through this was difficult as it leads to the inevitable tragic ending. However, I thought it was interesting, the story being told through Peter’s point of view. It’s well written and although some parts were fictional, others were factual and pretty much fully accurate.

As you read through the book, Peter has his ‘philosophical’ moments with Anne, which..I found a little odd coming from a teenage boy. However on the other hand, there were moments where Peter does act like his age – his references to Lise are frequent, and his sullen sulky moods are also prevalent. At least in that, Peter is shown acting like a teenager.

During the moments where they were almost caught, still gave me a moment of panic even though I already knew what was going to happen to them. Dogar does a good job writing here, as she successfully attempts to re-create the feelings of unease, and the feelings of uncertainty the inhabitants of the Annex would have experienced. I also liked how their ‘happy’ moments were treasured no matter how trivial it might be. It was moments like those, that kept them going and to keep surviving no matter how bleak the situation was.

What really got me the most was the part with Peter and his father. It was a touching moment that brought tears to my eyes. What Peter’s father did was what any loving parent would do for their child. It’s more painful as Peter came so close to surviving towards the last final days of the war.

I do recommend this book to others who are interested in Anne Frank, or are into Holocaust studies. It’s well written and well worth the read. It’s certainly an interesting point of view as we’re so used to hearing about Anne Frank.

I give it 9 out of 10.
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Written by Karoline

March 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Posted in 9, Review

Tagged with , , ,

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