Saturday, October 23, 2010

Show Me Five Review/Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Saturday, October 23, 2010
Show Me Five is a weekly meme created by  That's a Novel Idea where  you  post the answers to five questions. The questions number indicates the number of answers you will provide. 

1 Name of book:
Annexed by Sharon Dogar

2 Words that describe the book:

Speculative, re-imagining

3 Setting where it took place and/or characters:


Front of Frank's business and canal
The setting of Annexed takes place over a three year period beginning July 13, 1942. The main action takes place at Otto Frank's business located on 263 Prinsengracht, one of three main canals in Amsterdam, Holland. 

Back of Frank's Business showing attic window
Secret entrance to annex

Inside the business, hidden by a bookcase was the secret annex (approximately 75 square meters) where the Franks: Otto, Edith, Margot and Anne; the Van Pels: Auguste, Hermann, and Peter, and Dr Pfeffer hid from the Nazis.


 The cramped conditions in the annex created additional tension for all the the residents, and Peter often goes up into the attic to be alone. As Anne and Peter began to get close, the attic become a refuge. 

Tree outside attic window
It is the only place they could see outside because it held the only window not covered. The tree outside the attic window also held the hope that the day would come when they could once be free to live in the open.
Peter Van Pels is not quite 16 when he enters the annex in 1942. He is shy and has a difficult time adjusting to the confinement of the annex. He is irritable, and finds Anne annoyingly optimistic. He hates hiding, and questions his faith. He also dreams of a lost love and fears never knowing what it is like to experience emotional and physical love. As the days turn into weeks, months and years, Peter realizes that he is falling in love with Anne. 

 Anne Frank is 13 years old when she and her mother, father, and older sister Margot enter the annex. Boisterous and full of life, she has a keen sense of humor and loves to tease Peter. She also has a sharp intelligence that came through in many of the conversations she and Peter shared. Finally, she was driven and dreamed of becoming a writer and wanted more than anything to share her thoughts with the world.

4 Likes/dislikes:

I found the concept of telling Peter's story hard to resist. I have always loved historical fiction and understand that it is a writer's imagination of the events and people that allows me the reader to step into those events and meet the people whose lives were affected. For the most part I found Dogar's re-imagining of the events from Peter's point of view a compelling read.

I really didn't like Peter at first. But as I read and thought about what a boy Peter's age might feel locked up with five adults and two girls, over a period of three years, never knowing for sure whether they would be found, having little to eat, I realized that Dogar's characterization of Peter accurately portrayed a 16, 17, and 18 year old.

I like that the book made me anxious to reread The Diary of Anne Frank (as an adult this time). I liked that it made me do research on my own about the Frank's business, the location, and to view the inside of the annex. I also like that the book, although controversial,  (see article where Sharon defends book against attacks) never once felt like anything more than a well written and carefully researched fictional story.

I appreciated that the story didn't end with Peter's arrest, but took me through what happened after the arrest and at the camp and gave me an idea about how Peter's tragic life ended; something that again is only a ficitional account, but one I felt stayed true to the known events.

5 Stars or less:

I am giving Annexed 4 cherries. I enjoyed the book for exactly what it is a historical fictional that is well researched with believable accounts of Peter's feelings and thoughts. 

Source: Copy received from FSB Media


Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I like the idea of this meme. Really interesting post! I've been meaning to read this book!

Nomes said...

I love it when you do this meme. I should probably have a go at it sometime - it's so refreshingly different.

I've been thinking of picking this one up. I re-read Anne's Diary last year and loved it as an adult and this sounds intriguing.

good job.

Staci said...

Great review of this one and thanks for addressing the sexual issue. I'm going to read this one for sure as soon as I process it for the library! I couldn't imagine being a teen boy during those formative years and having to live in such closed quarters with others with no opportunity to leave. I'm sure this one will be controversial but I look forward to what other people take away from the story!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great meme idea! I really like your answers. They make me want to read the book myself. I love the pictures you added, the attic and the tree look really haunting.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I just ordered this book and cannot wait to read it. I am hoping that it will be a great book for my students, who love learning about the WWII/ Holocaust. I am always searching for new reads in this area of history. Thanks!

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I've been hearing about this book for months. Your review is what finally prompted me to add it to my wish list.

Melissa said...

Great mini review, Jan! I love this idea, and I think it's a great way to see a story visually...I think I need to pick this one up! :)

thebookfairyhaven said...

This is such a wonderful way of doing reviews. I loved The Diary of Anne Frank as a young girl and your review is both making me want to pick this book up as well as The Diary of Anne Frank again! Lovely review as always!

chelleyreads said...

fantastic review jan! thanks for the visuals. you're making that much more eager to read this book. i have yet to read the diary of anne frank as an adult too and i'm very curious.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I have been really curious about this book. It has been so long since I have read Anne Frank.

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