Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on October 4th 2010
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.
Annexed takes the beloved historical tale of Anna Frank and gives it a fresh new perspective. Entering into the tale, I knew that by the end this novel it would either blow me away or leave me with a (possibly) bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, for all us Anne Frank fans out there, the first occurred much more than the latter.
Dogar takes her time introducing readers to the setting, characters, and the whole emotional world that encompasses Annexed. It is like taking a step back in time. What I loved about Annexed is how familiar yet new the novel felt. Although the story its self will be very familiar to many readers, Annexed never had that "I've read this before, give me something new" feeling.
The story is told from Peter's perspective and that in itself is quite intriguing. Readers are given a glimpse at another side of Anne Frank that personally I never thought I would see. This Anne a bit more immature… a bit more bold in her speech… but at the core, still the same girl that I grew up fascinated by. As for Peter, as a whole, I enjoyed his portrayal. And I loved that his story continued after the events of Anne's diary. It gave the novel that extra feeling of completion that as a reader I needed.
Although it is a work of fiction, readers will leave the novel with the sense that Dogar did the tale proud. Dogar obviously did her research for this novel. And it shows! Annexed is the perfect novel for reader who always wanted more from the Anne Frank tale. Great characters, heart-felt emotions, and a time period that will stay with us forever. What more could you ask for?