Kayla's Reviews > Annexed

Annexed by Sharon Dogar
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Feb 05, 12

Read in January, 2012

When I first saw this book in the book store, I'll admit, I was pretty excited and purchased it right away without a second thought. I'm one of those people who is interested in learning about this ghastly period in history- its just awful to think of what human beings are really capable of. I've always been interested especially about Peter Van Pels. Don't ask me why, I couldnt tell you. However, though my initial reaction was that of interest when I got home and thought about it I became wary about actually picking it up. There are so many ways that this could go horribly horribly wrong.


About a year later when I finally got the courage to pick it up, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. Sharon Dogar clearly did lots of research before writing this work, and it didnt come off as disrespectful in any way- which honestly was my biggest fear going into this. She's a very good writer and the way it was set up was done well. It was done in two parts, The Annex and The Camps, along with a preface and an epilogue. It was also broken up into moderately sized chapters, which werent numbered but had a heading such as; August 21, 1942- Peter's Father is Angry. I liked the size of the chapters, because it provided a perfect stopping point and I loved the dates at the beginning of each chapter. However I could have done without the, to put it bluntly, kind of corny headings which basically just summed up what you were about to read.


As far as how she did in the actual writing of the characters, she did a pretty good job. Peter I thought was very true to how the actual Peter Van Pels was portrayed in Anne's diary, though I've only read bits and pieces and seen a few of the movies. The rest of the characters also stayed true, though the only problem I had was in the portrayal of Anne herself. I felt like Dogar made her rather annoying- and as most people do I generally find Anne Frank very likeable- so I wasnt thrilled with that.


I also felt like Dogar had a few cop outs in the book. For instance several times there would be a conversation that didnt take place in Annes actual diary, and this would be explained by Peter asking Anne not to write about it in her diary. I dont know why but it irritated me at points. But for the most part the way Dogar presented Peter as the shy, insecure boy who was confused about his loyalty towards his religion and nervous about things like sex was very effective. It was true to what a sixteen year old boy stuck in an inclosed space with his family and people he hardly knows, for an indefinite amount of time, would be going through.


I really liked the tone of the book, and as I said before I loved the way it was written. Especially in Part 2 you really got to see her talent in her heart wrenching portayal of the death camps. This also represented all the research she had done, it went through the trip there and what we know of Peters actual time in Auschwitz. She filled in the blanks to certain things she wasnt positive about, but they were educated guesses to the best of her knowledge.


In the epilogue at the end of the book it reveals the fate of each of the people who lived in the annex. This may have been the most hear breaking part, you learn about how they died, and find that only Otto Frank survived.


After reading this I recommend that all young adults read this book. It's eye opening, and I think teens would benefit from reading it. If nothing else, at least the second part in order to get an idea of how absolutely dispicable the nazi's really were. This book makes you feel a mixture of sadness and anger but also a bit of happiness during some of the scenes in the annex. Some of Peter and Anne's conversations are very deep and definately force you to think. This was a hard task to undertake but Sharon Dogar did a very good job with it. It definately resonates with you for days after you finish and I personally still think about it sometimes, and I read it at the very beginning of January.


Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

[If you want to you can check out my book blog. Link;http://kaylasbookchat.blogspot.com/ I'm just starting out and could use feedback.]
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Carallena Anderson That was something I thought about as well. Its very easy to set someone off nowadays, and you have to do a LOT of research if you want to avoid offending multiple groups. But with the way Sharon tackled it, it was handled with care and common sense. Writing about something as big as the Holocaust from the point of view of someone else is difficult sometimes. Especially when you have to capture the emotions and inner turmoil of a growing teenage boy in the situation the Peter is in. Sharon did a wonderful job in conveying his thoughts and emotions.


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