1 Name of book:
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
2 Words that describe the book:
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.
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
Source: Copy received from FSB Media