Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Annexed

Sharon Dogar
2010; Houghton Mifflin; ISBN 978-0-547-50195-6 (hardcover)

Historical Period/Events: 1940s Europe, Holocaust

Summary: In The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank described the years spent in hiding due to her Jewish faith.  Yet what was it like for the teenage boy in hiding?  Peter van Pels struggles with the loss of privacy and opportunity.  He misses his girlfriend Liese, misses fresh air, misses freedom.  Cooped up in the small rooms, distracted by the fights between different members of the Secret Annex, Peter doesn't realize that the end is coming.  And when the inhabitants are discovered and taken away, Peter will realize how captivity can also be freedom. 

Annexed gives readers a different perspective on one of the classic works about the Holocaust.  Peter's story is told in two parts: his life in the concentration camp, struggling to survive, and the time in the Secret Annex. The daily boredom of hiding is contrasted with the deadly grind of imprisonment with heartbreaking effect.  Not just a retelling of The Diary of a Young Girl, Sharon Dogar's novel expands Anne Frank's world in an intriguing way.

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