Most everyone is familiar with the Diary of Anne Frank, a recovered artifact of a Jewish girl hiding during the Holocaust. Dogar, however, considers a different character within the same hideout, Peter van Pels. From his perspective, running is anything but ideal. Peter’s last day in freedom is spent watching his girlfriend, Liese, get dragged away by the Gestapo, and then realizing that he is about to be locked in a few small rooms with his parents and the Franks—more specifically, Anne Frank, a girl known for being overly talkative and having little concern for what spews out of her mouth.
Peter struggles with nightmares of what happened to Liese, and of the fate of the Jews who didn’t get to safety as he did. In addition to being held back from the rest of the world, his father is moody, his mother is overly doting, and Anne doesn’t stop talking. But in the safety of their hideaway, Peter changes and his initial reactions to Anne will not be the way he leaves them.
Sharon Dogar’s Annexed is a very powerful novel that turns Anne’s story of the world in hiding to that of the boy Peter. Her interpretation of a boy’s mindset is very accurate, and is fitting for the time period. Throughout his story, Peter questions his faith and his feelings, and delves into them with extreme detail, considering the amount of time he has to consider these things.
Dogar also does an amazing job in portraying Mr. Frank, the only person who seems to hold the power to hold everyone together, who is the voice of reason and morality throughout the Jewish families’ struggle to accept the harsh reality they are faced with. This account of historical fiction is more than just a story book, but a statement about humanity, and I rightly suggest it to all audiences.
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
- Date of Publication: October 4, 2010