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Annexed by Sharon Dogar


by Sharon Dogar

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I did like this book. Such a horrible time for so many people and books like this will help us not forget this tragedy. Hearing from peter's viewpoint, even though fictionalized, added more light on the years go hiding in the annex. It was written for a younger audience but i did feel that it was a little repetitive at times and I didn't like the headings at the beginning of the chapters.
( )
  sarahjvigen | Mar 23, 2017 |
Narrated and performed by cast. This audio version of the fictionalized story of Peter Van Pels dramatically expresses and prolongs his enduring melancholy in a way that probably doesn't come out the same in print. There were times while listening that the sadness was just so acute and depressing, my god. At first I wasn't too keen on the actor voicing Peter; he sounded like an old man and Peter is supposed to be 16. But I think it was because Peter was looking back on the time in the annex while he lay in sick bay in the concentration camp. This recreation of a teenage boy's experience in hiding adds thoughtful heft to the Anne Frank genre. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I grew up with the story of Anne Frank and her diary. I was thrilled when I was younger to discover we shared the same birth date. For these reasons I decided to read this book that is wonderfully told from Peter Van Pels point of view. It was interesting to note that Peter saw Anne as a very annoying child until they had shared the annex for a couple of years. We then find his opinion of her changing. He has begun to fall for her. I kept wondering, if they had both lived, would they have ended up together? Anne tried to look at the good in people and God, whereas Peter kind of took the other road. Anne always expressed herself through her writing. Peter liked to express himself through his drawing. What is interesting about this book is that we look at Peter’s life once he is sent to the concentration camp. No, we don’t really know his story. The author has done a lot of research into what it would have been like. She based it on the accounts of survivors. It is often hard to tell what is actually true and what is fiction because the writing has so beautifully intertwined the facts with fiction. I did enjoy the end of her book where she tells the reader what happened to Anne and those who spent all of that time hiding in the Annex. This is definitely a book not to be missed. ( )
  skstiles612 | Nov 28, 2015 |
The author uses words from Anne Frank's Diary to tell the story of being shut up in the annex with Anne for almost 2 yrs. from Peter van Pels' point of view. Since I hadn't read "The Diary of Anne Frank" in years, I often found myself wondering which part of the novel came from the Diary and which was the author's thoughts. In this version of the Diary, Peter winds up falling in love with Anne. Again, was that hinted at in her Diary? I don't know. What was heart rending was their fear of constant discovery. When it came, so close to the end of the war, it was heart breaking - as were the horrors of Auschwitz. This novel is haunting, painful to read, yet something we must read if only to remember - and never forget. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
In Annexed, author Sharon Dogar imagines what life in the Annex with Anne Frank must have been like for young Peter. We know all about Anne's thoughts and feelings, but surely Peter needs a chance to tell his side of things too. The novel begins as Peter is dying and looking back on his life, desperate to tell someone his story.

The first part of this book was really about 4 stars for me. It wasn't anything hugely different from what I would have imagined, but it was nice to see a different perspective on the other housemates. Anne frequently used her diary as a place to vent, so we tended to see the worst parts of everyone. In this book, Mrs. van Pels is shown as a caring mother who frequently says inappropriate things to help draw attention away from shy Peter. She steals the Franks' sheets to help him out too. His dad makes his awful jokes as a way to try to break tension. Mr. Frank is a wise, understanding mentor. Margot is inscrutable, but Mrs. Frank and Mr. Pfeffer are still pretty difficult to live with. Anne herself isn't always easy to live with, with her high ideals and mercurial personality, but she always makes life interesting, even within the confines of the Annex.

The second part left me feeling shattered.

Anne Frank's diary is a difficult read, because you do know how the story ends. But the diary just stops and, in the edition I read anyway, there was a very dry summation of what happened to the inhabitants of the Annex after their capture. If you've read any Holocaust literature at all, you can fill in the blanks, but it's easy just to not think about it and feel sad that Anne didn't live to make the mark she wanted to make on the world. (I'm not saying that she didn't make a mark, I'm saying that she would have chosen to live and write more life-changing books)

This book takes us into the camps.

We follow the Franks and the van Pelses onto the trains and into Auschwitz. Peter is separated from the women very early on, so we don't have to actually watch Anne suffer, but Peter spends a lot of time imagining what is going on with the women. He also tells us how hard life is, and we're there with him as he loses his father and as he himself almost, almost makes it through. I finished this on a plane and it was all I could do to keep from sobbing. I conveniently hadn't thought about life after the Annex, at least not much, but this book helped me mourn their loss.

Here are some quotes, both from the book and the extra material. These are taken from an advance copy and might have changed or been taken out of the final copy.

"As I write this, Anne Frank (if still alive) would have only been in her eighties. She might still be writing stories, still be reminding us of what it means to stay alive to the beauty of the world when all around you lies evidence of death, hatred, and destruction."

"I find a satchel and a spare jacket with a star sewn onto it, but then at the last minute I decide not to wear it. If this is my last walk through the city I'm going to do it free--as me--and if anything happens, if they find me--then let them."

"Today is the eighth of November. I'm sixteen....Last night [Mutti] came into my room. She didn't say anything. She sat on the bed and held my hand. After a while she left. Sometimes there's nothing that can be said."

"Trains. A platform.
That was the beginning of our end.
The selected.
It is hard to believe there was ever a before.
Or that there could ever be an after.
Is there anybody left?
Is anyone listening?

"Because this is not a story. This is the truth. These things really happened.
This is what all of us here long for you, outside, to know.
That we went gently, most of us. We walked into the night of the camps in long lines not knowing where we were going. We went in trains, wearing all of our possessions like hope. Once, we were legion, now we are few.
Now our naked bodies lie in piles. Our bones are ground to dust and we are...ashes.
That is the truth

"Now do you get it? This is what I did. This is how I lasted. For some of us survival was luck. No, for all of us it was luck. But for most of us it was because we learned to cheat and lie and steal and stand by--and watch while others were beaten and died.
In this way they etched their hatred upon us.

"We are standing together. It is the day they took my father. I cannot speak.
'What is left of him?' Mr. Frank says. 'The clothes that came back were not his, the number on his wrist was not his.'
'There's nothing left,' I whisper.
'You!' he says. 'You are what he has left. You will remember. You will survive. You will tell his story.'"

A recurring theme throughout the book is the German word, Wystawach. It means, "Wake up!" This is appropriate in so many ways. It woke me up to the horrible reality of the deaths of the Annex residents. This book, and Anne's diary, are a wake up call to us to remember and honor those we have lost. They're also a wake up call to remind us to be vigilant and prevent genocide and hatred. But we should also wake up and see the world around us. As the author wrote, we need to "stay alive to the beauty of the world."

This might not be for everyone. Anne Frank is not presented as a perfect girl here, so that might offend some people. Also, Peter is a teenage boy. What do teen boys think about? You got it. He spends some time fantasizing about a girl he lost. It's not graphic, and it doesn't take up much space in the story, but it is there. To me, both these points add some realism to the novel. If you don't like the ideas, you might want to stay away.

With the two caveats I listed above in mind, I absolutely recommend this as a companion to Anne Frank's diary.

Thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read an early copy via Netgalley. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
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May you never lay your head
down without a hand to hold...
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It is nearly five months into 1945. The Second World War is about to end. Peter van Pels is in a Nazi concentration camp called Mauthausen. He is recorded as having been admitted to the sick bay there on April 11. This would mean he was in the sick bay for more than three weeks, which is either inaccurate or extraordinary.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547501951, Hardcover)

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

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 ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

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The story of the boy who loved Anne Frank.

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