Sunday, April 7, 2013

Annexed- Sharon Dogar


Pages: 325
Published: March 31st 2011 by Andersen
Genre: Y.A Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Acquired My TRB Pile
Date Finished: April 1st 2013

Synopsis:  Everyone knows about Anne Frank, and her life hidden in the secret annexe - or do they?

Peter van Pels and his family are locked away in there with the Franks, and Peter sees it all differently. He's a boy, and for a boy it's just not the same. What is it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, to hate her and then find yourself falling in love with her? To know you're being written about in her diary, day after day? What's it like to sit and wait and watch whilst others die, and you wish you were fighting?

How can Anne and Peter try to make sense of one of the most devastating episodes in recent history - the holocaust?

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 the terrible conclusion.

Quick thoughts: Heart wrenching, a wonderful interpretation of a haunting life.

I have always been passionate about learning about history. Ever since I was a young girl, in primary school when I first heard about Anne Frank I knew I wanted to know her story, I also knew from that point onwards I would spend the rest of my teenage years reading anything I could get my hands on. Fast forward and now I am 23 and that fascination is still there. Still burning bright and when I learnt about Annexed a few years back now from a fellow reviewer I knew it was one for my collection and I am so glad to have read it.
In the perspective of not Anne, but Peter Van Pels, the boy who loved Anna Frank Sharon takes us through life before and during the war up until he sadly passes away only a few days before liberation. What is heart wrenching is that he, and the fellow members of the Annex were so close to liberation and to have everything stripped from them, including their lives in such horrific and devastating ways has always left an impression on me. One that I continue to explore so that I can educate people, just as I know Sharon has done in this fantastic, beautiful and haunting exploration of Peter’s life.

For those of you interested in the story, all I can say it is one among many that stand out to me. It made me cry, it tore my heart out, it made me smile and it reminded me time and time again why it is so important to remember, and to read these testimonies. Fiction or not, I was captivated by Sharon’s every word and she really drew me in, to the point that I forgot I was reading fiction and was convinced that I was in Peter’s shoes and seeing everything through his eyes. She is defiantly a talented writer and as much as the subject matter is a touchy one, I had to admit that I loved the way that she handled the topic.

Annexed is broken up into two sections; the annexe and the camps, and both are explored in an almost diary format with flash backs that send you on a roller coaster of emotions only to bring you back to the present. The most provoking part of my reading experience was hoping; despite even knowing how it ended that Peter would survive. Every day I read every scene and all through the graphic violence that shattered me inside I prayed that he would make it out.

Sadly his story is one in a million, but I am so thankful Sharon wrote this wonderful book and I want to recommend it so strongly to all those who like me have an unending need to know, to learn and a desire to educate others and for those who are not familiar, or might have only read Anne’s Diary but seek to learn more and explore fictional alternatives. Overall I could not wait to finish this book, simply because it made me feel so much pain, but in saying that the reading experience is one I will cherish and I will be letting it know that this book is gold.

I am giving this:

Chestnut trees


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