Author: Sharon Dogar
Pages [hardcover]: 320
Opening Lines: I think I’m still alive. But I’m not sure. I’m ill. I must be because I’m lying down. We never lie down. In the camps there’s no such thing as rest.
Favorite Characters: Peter & Anne
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.
I’ve never read Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. But this story was very powerful and moving, all on its own. Just knowing that the characters within it, for the most part, actually existed, and that this ever happened at all is heart-wrenching. This novel is told through the eyes of a scared boy, who wants nothing more than freedom and the chance to be more than a labeled Jew.
This book stays true to Anne Frank’s account, while adding its own elements to form the storyline. It goes past the time in the attic, past the betrayal, to the horrific events of the death camps. At the end, it even gives a brief summary of what actually happened to each member of the Frank and van Pels families. Every moment feels real, and I think that the author really captured Peter’s voice.
While reading about the Holocaust can be deeply saddening, I think it is important to pick up books such as this. It reminds us of what can happen when human cruelty reigns freely, and when we discriminate against others.
This book certainly kept my attention, and I loved that so much research was put into this. The emotional connection to the characters is incredible, and I was sucked into Annexed from the opening lines to the final ones. I give it 5/5 stars.