Saturday, December 11, 2010
By Sharon Dogar
From Inside Cover:
I look out the window into the street....I'm meant to be at Mr. Frank's workplace in a few hours. We're arriving separately, all of us. We'll walk into the building just like it was any other visit-only this time we'll never walk out again.What was it like hiding in the annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne every day while she wrote so passionately in her diary? To be in a secret world at war-alive on the inside, everything dying on the outside? Peter Van Pels and his family have lost their country, their home, and their freedom, and now they are fighting desperately to remain alive. Look through Peter's eyes. He has a story to tell, too. Are you listening?
I think that I read Diary of a Young Girl in Middle School-my memories of it are hazy. After reading Annexed by Sharon Dogar I plan to pick it up in the new year and reread it.
I've been a little surprised by the mixed reviews on this book. Some people have felt that a story from the perspective of Peter van Pels tarnishes the image of Anne Frank and her diary.
I thought that the author was very clear in the preface that Peter's story is a work of fiction, based on facts of history. Historical Fiction.
Peter van Pels is a 16 year old boy who goes into hiding with his parents in an annex above a building owned by Frank Otto. The year is 1942.
This story is written from Peter's point of view as the author imagines what it must of been like for a teenage boy to suddenly lose his freedom and be confined to a small space with seven other people for almost two years.
We get to know Anne through Peter's eyes. First she is a know it all that irritates him and invades his space. But slowly his emotions grew into affection as he matures. We start to see another Anne who is reaching out, longing to make a connection. She is both insightful and observant.
Peter is a person of few words but deep emotions-A person I grew to know and love.
We all know how the story ends.After two years in hiding they are all betrayed and sent to concentration camps-Auschwitz and Mauthausen.
I found myself sobbing as I read Peter's last words."Are you listening?" So afraid that no one will know his story. His life ends before it had a chance to begin.
The story of the Holocaust should never be forgotten. It is a horrible piece of of history that needs to be told, again and again. We need to listen and never forget.
A huge thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for giving me the opportunity to read and review Annexed.
I will be donating this book to my local Public Library. I encourage young adults and their parents to read it and talk about it.