Friday, October 15, 2010

"Annexed" Review

by Sharon Dogar

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: Oct 4, 2010

Source: sent by FSB

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Book Summary from

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.

My Review:

This book is possibly the most intense book I have read that wasn't required reading for school. I admire and appreciate the writing and the author's knowledge of the subject, but I can't say that this book was for me.

I would like to address two of the criticisms of the book that I've seen in the media. First, some feel that the author shouldn't have touched Anne's story. I don't agree with this at all. The book respectfully takes another angle on Anne's story and shows her in a different light. To me, this is the same as a producer would do with a movie version of her life. She's telling the story in a different way while being respectful to the true original story.

Secondly, some feel this story is too "sexed up." Any of the so called sex scenes are fantasies which is understandable coming from a teenage boys point of view. I admit, the fantasies gave me the heebie jeebies a little, since I'm not a teenage boy, but I certainly don't think the author should change anything. That's how she chose to tell the story and it fits with her point of view. In no way do I feel it's disrespectful to the Anne story, I just didn't personally like reading it.

This story is intense, the book chronicles not only Peter's time in the annex, but also his time at Auschwitz and the prologue is a scene in the sick bay as he's waiting to die. The author has a very poetic way of writing that makes the haunting events really get under the reader's skin.

Bottom Line: This story is not for the faint of heart and I recommend this one only to those who think they are up to it.

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